D J Desmond

Man of Mystery ?

This was the name which Malcolm Saville occasionally used as a pseudonym.

His first book, the excellent handbook Amateur Acting and Producing for Beginners, was published under this name. Articles in My Garden Magazine, and in Jonathan Cape's collections for children also appeared, as did the text for a photographic picture book about the farm that many of us old 'uns had at school; John and Jennifer at the Farm.

The questions arise, why did Malcolm Saville use a pen-name for these works, and why he chose 'D J Desmond' for his nom-de-plume ?

And I have no answers.

At first, when the only use of the name we thought was for the adult drama handbook, published before he started writing for children, to be honest, I doubted that it was his. I was swiftly disabused of this, so decided that he'd used another name because he was writing for a publisher unconnected with one he was working for in another capacity. But Pearsons were always intertwined with Newnes.

So then I figured that it was because he was writing for adults, and he aimed to keep his own name free for children's literature. But he wrote articles for children published by Cape as Desmond.
He also wrote children's fiction, and light adult fiction as well under his pseudonym.
I give up. I don't know why he used a pseudonym.

And as to why he should chose the odd name of D J Desmond puzzles me more. Why that particular name ?
One of the criteria for chosing a pseudonym would be to save confusion with other authors. It is therefore bemusing to find that there is another D J Desmond writing books at the same time as Saville. He is described in the British Library catalogue as 'D J Desmond of the Joseph Lucas Research Laboratories'.

I have puzzled over this for years, to no avail. All suggestions gratefully received !

His use of the name has produced the occasional oddity: In one of Cape's books there are two articles by Malcolm Saville, one under his own name, the other written as D J Desmond.
He even included The First Storm of Autumn, a piece by D J Desmond into his Country Scrapbook.

He was, after all, an excellent Mystery writer . . .


This page is part of the Malcolm Saville Centenary Website. To enter this site by the front door, click here.
Illustrations copyright the respective Publishers
Text copyright John Allsup
Created May 2001
last updated Jan 2003