Friday, December 2, 2011

Re: Contest!!

via email:

Hi, Betty Debbie,
What a great idea! The contest. Unfortunately, I'm not much of a writer. I have always great ideas for the beginning, I know what the end should be like, but as for the middle...I can think up only a very little.

I did some sleuthing for you to complete the titles of the books. Alas, no Neels volume among those I could find.

Margaret Way, Flamingo Park

Anne Cooper, Fool’s Paradise

Susan Barrie, Nurse Nolan
0373800533 1980 Harlequin Books

bottom middle right (man’s face)

Mary Wibberley, Fire and Steel

FIre and Steel
bottom middle left (cowboy/woman)
Kerry Allyne, The Challenge

top right-hand corner could be:

Daphne Clair, Never Count Tomorrow

Never Count Tomorrow

Keep up the good work! I enjoy following this blog.

Betty Anonymous
( which I would like to remain - at least for now )

Dear Betty Anonymous,

I'm totally impressed by your (choose all that apply):
  1. Mad Google skills.
  2. Photographic memory.
  3. Encyclopaedic knowledge of vintage Harlequin.
  4. Creative channeling of your obsessive/compulsive tendencies.
(and is it just me, or does the 'lady' on the cover of Fire and Steel look like a dude in drag?)
Love and lardy cakes,
Betty Debbie


  1. Betty Barbara here--
    Hey! Betty AnHK beat me to the punch with a few of those (though I did (ahem) post the synopses to the three incomplete titles yesterday).
    Anywho--congrats to Betty AnHK for figuring out the cowboy cover-that one defeated me.
    the three really obscure ones--where all we have are numbers and a bit of color--#902 is Mountain of Dreams by Barbara Rowan (sorry, couldn't find a cover Here'sa blurb).
    #1622--Here Came a Tyrant by Anne Hampson
    We missed a good cover when they decided to cover this one up.
    Down at the very bottom is the name Jane Beaufort--that one is this title .
    Way over on the right, we have-
    #609 Doctor's Secretary by Marjorie Moore
    Here's a teaser.
    And behind Bargain Wife we have--
    Margery Hilton The Spell of the Enchanter Cover and blurb here.
    I had a lot of fun digging these out.

  2. Betty Barbara again--
    I think I've found a Betty! At the very top, behind Where the Wolf leads, there's a bit of orange cover. The price of 60 cents is clearly visible as is the arch with the words Harlequin Romance. Careful use of the magnifying glass reveals the number 1666--which is (ta da!)
    Saturday's Child, by Betty herself.
    The cover illustration is HERE.

    What is that you say? The contest wasn't see who could identify the most covers?? Oh well then (Betty Barbara slinks away....)

  3. Betty Barbara,you're my hero! I can't believe how good your sleuthing skills are. And just as unbelievable, of the thousands of Harlequins, we happen to have one Betty Neels in a random collection of props.

  4. This is SO amazing, the sleuthing!, thank you Betty Anonymous and Betty Barbara.
    I can take absolutely no credit for any part of the Betty Anonymous work. (It's Betty AnHK writing here, different person).

    And, due to recent laziness and torpor, I must add even MORE congratulations to Betty Anonymous on the display of industry, memory and google brilliance here.

    Its wonderful and scary in perfect parts! Also loving the drag queen in 'Fire and Steel'. As I can't really take do a straight synopsis I want do a non-contest submission with Betty Dragnurse. An 'Amsterdam is Burning/Bargain Wife' subset ;-)
    Betty AnHK

  5. Betty Barbara here--
    oops! my bad! Sorry Betty Anonymous for attributing your sleuthing to Betty AnHK.
    Betty AnHK--can't wait to read your bit! I know it will be clever, because yours always are.

  6. Betty Barbara
    I am very much afraid that the number is 1646 Anne Hampson, Isle of the Rainbows.
    Please employ your magnifying glass once again and prove me wrong. I looked at the puzzle at
    Betty Anonymous

  7. Betty Barbara here--
    Well Rats! Betty Anonymous, you are right! I am not saying 'rats' because I have been proved wrong, but because that means there is NO BETTY NEELS--not even in deepest background.
    Oh, phooey. Betty Anonymous--your magnifying glass and eyesight are obviously better than mine. Kudos to you!
    (Side comment--I really loved using the picture from Amazon--the ability to zoom in was really neat.)
    There's at least one cover still to be deciphered--underneath Nurse Nolan is a tiny pinkish triangle with just parts of two letters.
    One of these evenings when I have nothing better to do I'll give it a try.

  8. No Betty?! Waaaaaah! On second thought, it's OK. The contest submissions are making up for it.

  9. Betty van den BetsyDecember 4, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    Seriously, they published 4-6 of her stories each year. You'd think she'd make the puzzle.

  10. Here's my version of the last page to a bent Betty Neels 'Fire and Steel'. Who knew she was LGBT supportive ;-)

    Fire and Steel
    Dispirited, the sad edges of Perseverance Steel large mouth turned down and her pansy eyes filled with tears. Big droplets fell unrestrained into the bland weak tea resting on the Formica counter bench she was wedged against. Just the comparison of that unpleasant beverage with the last cup of tea she had drunk from delicate translucent porcelain cups drew her thoughts back inexorably to those last sun filled days of Monaco and the Professor. Persy looked over at the counter of the over bright greasy spoon surrounded at each side by tired families clutching their gaudy plastic bags of Christmas shopping, her bright auburn hair untidily pulling out in clownish tuffs from a hastily made French pleat. A fluorescent haze made even the most robust children look insipid and drab. The contrast to their time in the Monaco casino could not have been crueler.
    She almost couldn’t believe how she could be go from recovering from hidden testicle surgery and the glorious thrill of celebratory pre-op roulette to sitting alone with no money, clothes or pets in a tired café at the bad end of Bethnal Green holding a single ticket to Bottomley Baddowns’s village train station.
    Wedged between a large matron and her grumbling children and two elderly pensioners she looked up as the professor strode in.
    Staring wordlessly, her mouth gaping like a fish, she did the only thing she could think of which was to hide unfortunately behind the large flowery decorative pot covering the burnt rings on the Formica table.
    “Come out from that hideous thing at once. You cannot run away from your womanhood anymore.” The professor barked out in a harsh voice.
    In an even quieter tone he glared at her. “What are you doing here of all places, sneaking off in the night without a word after the Saint Tropez student rebel terrorist uprising?”
    “But you blamed me wouldn’t let me say a word to the authorities and because of your ward I have been locked up in jail for the last four years.” Trying to stay calm and clear she rushed on in tripping through the words in a tight little voice. “Honor said if we had children our girls will be plain little hermaphrodites and that you… you were, already on your honeymoon in Washington, and that as an eminent hermaphrodite surgeon, I was just…a…a British test case while you wanted to treat real tomboy-girls like Samoan Fa’afafines. ” On the last note her voice was high and quivery, for once the hormone therapy was working.
    Professor Brand der Vuren smiled and his eyes were warm and bright. “Hush now, my beautiful confused darling little house mouse. I don’t need to explain myself and we have wasted far too much time already.”
    “Right now,” he murmured pushing his finger over her lips, silencing her next words with his lips, “let me show you just how our fire and steel alchemy will work.”
    And luckily for her, he did.

    Betty ANHK

  11. OK, Betty AnHK, that was quite...disturbing. Poor Betty Neels! She had a bad day. (Not you, Betty AnHK!)

  12. Disturbing? Oh, I'll say!
    My personal highlight: the name.
    Brand der Vuren! Haha! Betty AnHK, that is sooo clever!!! The "obvious" literal translation is "fire of the fires". But the meaning of the name Brand is actually "(flaming) sword". Fire and Steel. Betty AnHK, you're brilliant.
    Betty Anonymous