Nancy Spain – and Norman

Nancy Spain (1917-1964) was a celebrity broadcaster and journalist who was killed, along with magazine editor Joan Werner Laurie in a plane crash when on her way to commentate on the Grand National race at Aintree, Liverpool. Her varied CV included authorship of ten light-hearted crime novels.

The last of her mysteries, The Kat Strikes, was published in 1955. Her publishers described it as “a completely English, extremely exciting story, in the true English tradition of John Buchan and Edgar Wallace” (although many readers may have been puzzled, given that Buchan was a very different kind of thriller writer from Wallace.)

This copy is intriguing because of its inscription: “For my very darling Norman, the only boy I ever really loved, from his own Nancy.” Joan Werner Laurie was, in fact, Nancy’s partner, although she had also had a child by artist and writer PhilipYoungman Carter. But who was Norman? He seems not to be identified in either Nancy’s autobiography or her biography. A mystery...