Reading the 1930 & 1959 versions of The Hidden Staircase simultaneously, comparing differences in the story and characters, and pondering dated plot points. Spoilers: full plot description below!
The changing artwork is part of my fun in collecting these books. Although there are two text versions, the illustrations were updated three times, with the quality deteriorating each time.
Russell Tandy did the first two versions, but the second revision, to save costs on the printing, only included a single frontispiece in a plain paper rather than glossy page, and for this book was an entirely new scene. The book in my collection with this illustration was printed about 1952, but based on Nancy’s hair and clothes, I’m guessing that this illustration was done in the 40’s. Here are an example of the original and revised Tandy illustrations, the first showing Nancy breaking into Jacob’s house, and the second showing Nancy and the rescued Jacob finding his house ransacked and empty:
The illustrations were revised again for the 1959 revised text, but this time by an uncredited artist who had little of Tandy’s talent, and by the 1970’s (for the later volumes in the series) the illustrations look like they were pulled from a reject pile of scribblings. The revised versions all have 6 plain paper line drawings. These revised text illustrations don’t attempt to mirror Tandy’s original work, although they sometimes show a similar scene.
The stormy lake:
The tree blocking the road:
And last, here’s an illustration of my favorite scene in the original, that never would have made it into the revision, where Nancy parks illegally, rushes into a hotel lobby, snatches the phone from the desk clerk, then proceeds to give him orders to start making phone calls for her.
Index of Posts:
ND3 Reading start
ND3 Reading finish
ND3.1 1930 Chs 1-3 vs 1960 Chs 1-2
ND3.2 1930 Chs 4-6 vs 1960 Ch 3
ND3.3 1930 Chs 7-9 vs 1960 Chs 4&8
ND3.4 1930 Chs 9-11 vs 1960 Ch 5-7; 9-10
ND3.5 Chs 12-14 vs 1960 Ch 11-12
ND3.6 1930 Chs 14-17 vs 1960 Ch 13-14
ND3.7 1930 Chs 18-21 vs 1960 Ch 15-17
ND3.8 1930 Chs 22-25 vs 1960 Ch 18-20
ND3.9 Artwork comparison
ND3.10 Overall review