Saturday, 5 March 2011

Saville Whitby

On a more mundane level Saville is always very careful in his use of the locales for his stories. “Mystery Mine” is prefaced by a detailed note that explains what is real and what is fictional. His dirty back alley off the main streets in Whitby, does not exist but the place on the steps where Jon and Penny had their momentous encounter certainly does.
It is important to remember that Malcolm Saville’s “Lone Pine” stories were written for both boys and girls for it is difficult to find another writer, apart from Arthur Ransome, who succeeded so well in maintaining his appeal to both genders for so long. “Lone Pine” clubs were formed all round the world and even today the “Malcolm Saville Society” goes from strength to strength. It is true that his plots may at times have been riddled with implausibility and stereotypical “criminal” behaviour but the settings, as indicated above, always felt real. More important than that is that bold decision that he took to allow the friendships between the young people to ripen and mature into a form of adult love that wasn’t without its problems but which was founded on solid principles and which had its very tender moments. “Mystery Mine”, set in Whitby and on the moors around, is thus a key book in this interesting saga.

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