Textual Notes for A Louse for the Hangman

As has been our policy in previous publications of Leo Bruce texts, we have, for the sake of consistency, mostly (though not always) followed the spelling and punctuation of the earliest novels—“shew” is used instead of “show” (when a verb), for example; “’phone” is retained for the shortened form of “telephone” instead of “phone”; “will” is capitalised when referring to a last will; stops are retained (or, if absent, inserted) in the initialism C.I.D. and stops are included with such abbreviations as “Dr.”, “Mr.” and “St.”; and hyphens are retained (or, if absent, inserted) in “arm-chair”, “week-end” and “letter-writer” but are removed from “finger-prints”, “to-morrow”, “to-night” and “to-day”—in all texts; furthermore, in A Louse for the Hangman these additional changes occur:
“Lord Penge looked at Carolus as though to see if he was serious” (Chapter Two, page 18) was altered to “Lord Penge looked at Carolus as though to see whether he were serious”; each other subjunctive “was” (other than within speech)—in “Now if it was not unique” and “Unless Penge was quite fantastically rich” (Ch. Three, p. 31), in “whether there was not a suggestion of anxiety” (Ch. Five, p. 43), in “whether this visitor to the murdered man was still in the village” (Ch. Six, p. 53), in “if he was late for lunch” (Ch. Six, p. 57), in “or perhaps assent was given” (Ch. Seven, p. 63), in “never knew if it was named after the quadruped” (Ch. Seven, p. 64), in “if he was expecting any sensational reactions” (Ch. Twelve, p. 115), in “whether he was a salesman” (Ch. Twelve, p. 118), and in “only if there was an adequate return” (Ch. Eighteen, p. 179)—was altered to “were”; similarly, “if”—in “Penge would glance upward to see if there were any lights on” (Ch. Four, p. 42), and in “a bony woman in a shawl asked from the door if they wanted tea” (Ch. Sixteen, p. 159)—was replaced by “whether”; likewise, “happens” and “is” in “especially if it happens on a stormy winter night and the face is an unknown one” (Ch. Seven, p. 63) were altered to the subjunctive “happen” and “be”;
a full stop was inserted after “tree” in “We had not got to the point of imagining a real murderer waiting behind a tree  But there was another thing” (Ch. Two, p. 22);
for consistency with other texts “whisky and soda” (Ch. Two, p. 23, twice, Ch. Three, p. 26 and Ch. Twenty, p. 198) was altered slightly to “whisky-and-soda”, and “Scotch and soda” (Ch. Eleven, p. 107) was altered to “Scotch-and-soda”; similarly, “Gin and pep” (Ch. Eleven, pp. 110 & 111) was hyphenated to be consistent with the earlier “gin-and-pep” (Ch. Six, p. 54);
though an intransitive use of the word might have been intended, “bath” in “Carolus prepared to bath and change” (Ch. Three, p. 31) was altered to “bathe”;
“dimorpotheca” (Ch. Four, p. 36) was corrected to “dimorphotheca”;
a definite article was inserted between “during” and “war” in “he was in Field Security during war” (Ch. Four, p. 37);
the hyphen was removed from “bi-focal” (Ch. Four, p. 38);
“a hundred per cent” (Ch. Four, p. 39) was altered to “a hundred per cent.”;
“emotions” in “no signs of any emotions” (Ch. Four, p. 41) was altered to “emotion”;
Eustace’s reflection in “However, you know. . . .” (Ch. Four, p. 44) seems incomplete so the period before the ellipsis was removed;
the hyphen in “foie-gras” (Ch. Ten, p. 99) was replaced by a space and
that French term was also italicised, as was the nearby “mácedoine”;
Mr. Flinch’s thought in “Well Mis-ter Rer Deene. . . .” (Ch. Ten, p. 104) is incomplete so the period before the ellipsis was removed;
“scot free” (Ch. Eleven, p. 111) was hyphenated;
the French term “hors d’œuvres” (Ch. Eleven, p. 112) was italicised*;
“Doctor”, in “Doctor Boncourt” (Ch. Twelve, pp. 116, 123 & 124)
and in “Doctor Chilham” (Ch. Sixteen, p. 162, Ch. Nineteen, p. 190 and Ch. Twenty, p. 201, twice), was abbreviated to “Dr.”;
since the younger son of Lord Penge is called “Ron” only one other time—by Spotter—in the book, “Ron” in “Lockyer and Ron were in the schoolroom” (Ch. Thirteen, p. 130) was altered to “Ronald”;
“a” in “a hospitable family” (Ch. Fourteen, p. 135) was altered to “an”;
the pronoun (“She”), “which was spoken in capitals”
(Ch. Fourteen, p. 140), and which could refer only to Mrs. Spotter, being singular, and uttered by Mrs. Carker only once, seems bizarre to be described thus, so “in capitals” was altered to “with a capital”;
an indefinite article was inserted before “notice-board” in “At the fork was notice-board Achendouroch” (Ch. Sixteen, p. 155) and a comma was inserted before “
Achendouroch”;
a full stop replaced the eroteme in “You still haven’t told me what brought you here?”
(Ch. Sixteen, p. 157) because it seems to be a statement;
“Bonny” in “Bonny Prince Charlie” (Ch. Sixteen, p. 160) was altered slightly to the more traditional “Bonnie”;
Piggott’s explanation in “So when he said for me that evening. . . .” (Ch. Seventeen, p. 165) is obviously interrupted so the period before the ellipsis was removed;
the honorific in “Mr. Eustace”
(Ch. Nineteen, p. 189) uttered by Carolus Deene, shortly after Spotter does, was removed because, though servants refer thus to Lord Penge’s elder son, Carolus at no other time does so; and
single quotation marks replaced the the double ones around Carolus Deene’s reported (and hypothetical) speech of Lord Penge, “Don’t wait to go to the hall for your coat; take mine.” (Ch. Twenty, p. 197).
Page references are to the first (and, sad to relate, only) edition of A Louse for the Hangman by Leo Bruce, published by Peter Davies (London, 1958).
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* following the example of Rupert Croft-Cooke’s contemporaneous The Gardens of Camelot (London, 1958), p. 102.