J. E. Macdonnell

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J. E. Macdonnell
Born James Edmond Macdonnell
(1917-11-03)3 November 1917
Mackay, Queensland
Died 13 September 2002(2002-09-13) (aged 84)
Buderim, Queensland
Pen name James Edmond Macdonnell, James Macdonnell, J.E.M., Jim Macdonnell, J. Macdonnell, Macnell, James Macnell, James Dark, Kerry Mitchell, Michael Owen.
Nationality Australian
Period 1942-1989
Genre Fiction
Spouse Valerie (1956-2002)
Children 3

James Edmond Macdonnell (3 November 1917 – 13 September 2002) was an Australian novelist. The covers of his novels declare him "Australia's leading novelist of the Navy" and "Australia's greatest novelist of the sea".[1]

Biography[edit]

James Edmond Macdonnell was born in 1917 in Mackay, Queensland and became one of Australia's most prolific writers of paperback novels. As a boy, he became determined to go to sea and read every seafaring book he could find. At age 13, while his family was still asleep, he took his brother's bike and rode some 80 miles from his home town to Brisbane in an attempt to see ships and the sea. Fortunately, he was found and returned to his family. He attended the Toowoomba Grammar School from 1931 to 1932. He served in the Royal Australian Navy for fourteen years, joining at age 17, advancing through all lower deck ranks and reaching the rank of commissioned gunnery officer. He began writing books while still in active service. The publicity biography on the back cover of Command! (1959) states that "he began with novels in 1942".[1][2]

Macdonnell wrote stories for The Bulletin under the pseudonym "Macnell" and from 1948 to 1956 he was a member of The Bulletin staff. His first book, Fleet Destroyer - a collection of stories about life on the small ships - was published by The Book Depot, Melbourne, in 1945. Macdonnell began writing full-time for Horwitz in 1956, writing an average of a dozen books a year.[1][2]

After leaving the navy, Macdonnell lived in St. Ives, Sydney and pursued his writing career. In 1988, he retired to Buderim on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. He died peacefully in his sleep at a Buderim hospital in 2002. He is survived by his wife Valerie and his children Beth, Jane and Peter.

The Bulletin[edit]

Macdonnell's work for The Bulletin, using the pseudonym Macnell, includes the following:[1]

Articles for The Bulletin
Title Edition Date Page(s)
Neptune's Feet of Clay Vol.70 no.3640 16 November 1949 22-23
A Shepherd at Sea Vol.70 no.3646 28 December 1949 4,20
Standby to Ram! Vol.71 no.3696 13 December 1950 34-35,42
The Insubordination of P.O. Brady (from Gimme the Boats) Vol.71 no.3661 12 April 1950 4,20-21
`Old Guns' : His Strange Disease Vol.71 no.3669 7 June 1950 20,22
A Lesson for Two (from Gimme the Boats) Vol.71 no.3683 13 September 1950 21-22
International Incident Vol.72 no.3715 25 April 1951 20,22,24,32
The Chook Gets Hers Vol.72 no.3747 5 December 1951 27,39
Borrowed Braid Vol.72 no.3748 12 December 1951 32-33,36
Target Unidentified Vol.73 no.3762 19 March 1952 16-17
The Drum Vol.73 no.3764 2 April 1952 4,14-15
Destroyer Operation (from Gimme the Boats) Vol.73 no.3773 4 June 1952 4,14-15
Submarining Off Sydney Vol.73 no.3790 1 October 1952 4
Pity Requited 1952 Vol.73 no.3797 19 November 1952 20,22
Untitled Vol.74 no.3812 4 March 1953
Open Sights Vol.74 no.3817 8 April 1953 20
What You Learn in the Navy Vol.82 no.4232 22 March 1961 16

Publishers[edit]

Works[edit]

J. E. Macdonnell wrote over 200 novels, in at least 7 different series under several versions of his own name and several pseudonyms:

  • J. E. Macdonnell
  • James Edmond Macdonnell
  • James Macdonnell
  • J.E.M.
  • Jim Macdonnell
  • J. Macdonnell
  • James Macnell
  • James Dark
  • Kerry Mitchell
  • Michael Owen.

James Dark was a Horwitz house pseudonym shared by several authors. Some believe that he may have written as James Workman, another Horwitz house pseudonym, as well.[1][3] Macdonnell's work has been published in at least nine different languages.

Characters[edit]

Macdonnell's naval stories feature several recurring characters:

  • Captain "Dutchy" Holland, D.S.O.
  • Captain Peter Bentley, V.C.
  • Captain Bruce Sainsbury, V.C.
  • Jim Brady.
  • XO Lieutenant Commander Robert Randall

Several books follow Jim Brady through the ranks from Able Seaman to Captain.

Recurring characters in other series include Commander Carton, a "tough, enterprising skipper[4]" in the Crime Series, Mark Hood, an international spy, in the International Espionage series and Captain Mettle, V.C. in the three juvenile novels.

Series[edit]

Since J. E. Macdonnell wrote so many books,[citation needed] many of which were released numerous times in different guises, in different collections and in various countries, it is difficult to identify every published series but some can be clearly identified:[citation needed]

The Collector's Series, and the Classics Series both comprise 141 books, with 2 differences between them other than the title sequence. The Collector's Series does not contain the book The Captain and the classic series does not contain the book Don't Gimme The Ships. Both of these series comprise books from the original Sea Adventure Series.

The Juvenile Books[edit]

Macdonnell wrote three juvenile works about the character Captain Mettle using the pseudonym James Macnell. They were published by Constable and The Children's Press. He wrote another entitled Colt and Co in the Valley of Gold as J. Macdonnell, which was published by Dent in 1960. This book was described in the wrapper notes as "the first of a new series" but no further titles were forthcoming.

Mettle At Woomera was re-released in paperback as Weapon Raid by Horwitz in 1979, using the name J. E. Macdonnell.

The Juvenile Books
Title Year
Captain Mettle, V.C. 1955
Mettle Dives Deep 1956
Mettle At Woomera 1957
Colt and Co in the Valley of Gold 1960
Weapon Raid 1979

The Commander Carton Crime Series[edit]

Commander Carton is a retired R.N. captain who finds himself fighting crime.

The Crime Series
Title Year
Commander Carton 1960
Alias Carton 1961

The Horwitz Naval Series[edit]

Published as J. E. Macdonnell.

The Horwitz Naval Series
No. Title Year      No. Title Year      No. Title Year      No. Title Year
1 Standby to Ram 1957 38 Broadsides! 1962 75 Hell Ship 1966 112 Circle of Fire 1970
2 Target Unidentified 1957 39 Battle Line 1962 76 The Convert 1966 113 For Valour 1971
3 Battle Ensign 1958 40 The Long Haul 1962 77 Wall of Fire 1966 114 Torrent of Fire 1971
4 Enemy in Sight 1959 41 Away Boarders 1962 78 The Unforgiving Sea 1967 115 Guns for God 1971
5 Command 1959 42 The First Lieutenant 1962 79 Down the Throat 1967 116 Damn the Torpedoes 1971
6 Alarm–EBoats! 1958 43 UBoat 1962 80 Combat Assignment 1967 117 First Command 1971
7 The Weak Link 1959 44 Flotilla Leader 1962 81 The Snake Boats 1967 118 Standing into Danger 1971
8 Presumed Sunk 1958 45 Sea Surgeon 1962 82 The Misfit 1967 119 Torpedo Junction 1971
9 Mutiny 1958 46 Abandon Ship! 1963 83 Behemoth 1967 120 The Worst Enemy 1971
10 Coffin Island 1958 47 Conflict 1963 84 Dit Spinner 1967 121 North West by North 1971
11 Frogman! 1958 48 Repel Boarders 1963 85 The Power and the Privilege 1968 122 Chain of Violence 1972
12 Killer Ship 1958 49 Not Under Command 1963 86 Rat Island 1968 123 Close Up 1972
13 Night Encounter 1958 50 Fire One! 1963 87 Petty Officer Brady 1968 124 False Colours 1972
14 Bilgewater 1958 51 Abandon and Destroy 1963 88 Valiant Mission 1968 125 The Brave Men 1972
15 The Secret Weapon 1959 52 The Buffer 1963 89 Full Fathom Five 1968 126 Point Blank 1972
16 Target Battleship 1959 53 Decision 1963 90 Approved to Scrap 1968 127 Most Immediate 1972
17 Dive! Dive! Dive! 1959 54 The Gun 1963 91 Attack and be Damned 1968 128 This Ship is Mine 1972
18 The Surgeon 1959 55 The Pawn 1964 92 Mission Hopeless 1968 129 The Trap 1972
19 The Gunner 1959 56 Sabotage 1964 93 Judas Rat 1968 130 The Verge of Hell 1972
20 The Captain 1960 57 The Betrayal 1964 94 High Command 1968 131 Blind into Doom 1972
21 Brood of the Eagle 1960 58 Collision Course 1964 95 HunterKiller 1968 132 Fire Storm 1973
22 The Recommend 1960 59 The Big Wind 1964 96 White Fury 1968 133 The Iron Claw 1973
23 The Coxswain 1960 60 Killer Group 1964 97 The Hammer of God 1968 134 Attack! 1973
24 The Challenge 1960 61 The Mistake 1964 98 Headlong into Hell 1968 135 A Council of Captains 1974
25 Convoy 1960 62 Course to Intercept 1964 99 Decoyed 1968 136 The Kill 1974
26 Find And Destroy 1960 63 Creeping Attack 1964 100 To the Death 1969 137 Court Martial 1975
27 Escort Ship 1960 64 The Jaws of Hell 1965 101 Execute! 1969 138 Operational Immediate 1975
28 Don’t Gimme the Ships 1960 65 Close and Investigate 1965 102 Strike Force 1969 139 The Dark Of The Night 1975
29 The Blind Eye 1961 66 Under Sealed Orders 1965 103 The Big Hunt 1969 140 Liberty Men 1976
30 Eagles Over Taranto 1961 67 Flashpoint 1965 104 Operation Jackal 1969 141 The Battle for Midway 1976
31 Fleet Destroyer 1961 68 White Death 1965 105 And the Heavens Spoke 1969 142 Big Bill the Bastard 1976
32 The Rocky 1961 69 The Deserter 1965 106 Not Wanted on Voyage 1970 143 Confirmed in Command 1976
33 The Lesson 1961 70 The Duel 1965 107 The Last Stand 1970 144 Standoff 1977
34 Clear for Action 1961 71 Whispering Death 1965 108 Object Destruction 1970 145 The Shadow 1977
35 Battle Fire 1961 72 Point of Departure 1966 109 Battle Hymn 1970 146 Death of a Destroyer 1977
36 The Ordeal 1961 73 Loom of Ice 1966 110 Died Fighting 1970 147 Valiant Occasions 1977
37 Sainsbury V.C. 1962 74 Foul Ground 1966 111 Fog Blind 1970

The Classics Series[edit]

The classics series is a re-release of most titles from the Horwitz Naval Series. The covers were mainly coloured silver and as a result this series is also known as the silver series.

The Classics Series
No. Title      No. Title      No. Title      No. Title
1 Stand By To Ram 37 U-Boat 73 Wall Of Fire 109 For Valour
2 Target Unidentified 38 Battle Fire 74 The Unforgiving Sea 110 Torrent Of Fire
3 Battle Ensign 39 The Ordeal 75 Down The Throat 111 Guns For God
4 Enemy In Sight 40 Sainsbury, V.C. 76 Combat Assignment 112 Damn The Torpedoes!
5 Command 41 Broadsides! 77 The Misfit 113 Torpedo Junction
6 Alarm-E-Boats! 42 Flotilla Leader 78 The Snake Boats 114 First Command
7 The Weak Link 43 Abandon Ship 79 Attack And Be Damned 115 Standing Into Danger
8 Presumed Sunk 44 Conflict 80 Behemoth 116 The Worst Enemy
9 Mutiny 45 Repel Boarders 81 Dit Spinner 117 Northwest By North
10 Coffin Island 46 Not Under Command 82 Approved To Scrap 118 Chain Of Violence
11 Frogman 47 Fire One! 83 The Power & The Privilege 119 Close Up
12 Killer Ship 48 The Buffer 84 Rat Island 120 False Colours
13 Night Encounter 49 Decision 85 Petty Officer Brady 121 The Brave Men
14 The Secret Weapon 50 Abandon And Destroy 86 Valiant Mission 122 Point Blank
15 Target Battleship 51 The Pawn 87 Full Fathom Five 123 Most Immediate
16 Dive! Dive! Dive! 52 The Gun 88 Mission Hopeless 124 This Ship Is Mine
17 The Surgeon 53 Sabotage! 89 Judas Rat 125 The Trap
18 The Gunner 54 Collision Course 90 High Command 126 The Verge Of Hell
19 The Captain 55 The Big Wind 91 Hunter-Killer 127 Blind Into Doom
20 Brood of the Eagle 56 Killer Group 92 White Fury 128 Fire Storm
21 The Recommend 57 The Mistake 93 The Hammer Of God 129 The Iron Claw
22 The Coxswain 58 Course To Intercept 94 Headlong Into Hell 130 Attack!
23 The Challenge 59 Creeping Attack 95 Decoyed 131 A Council of Captains
24 Convoy 60 The Jaws Of Hell 96 To The Death 132 The Kill
25 Find And Destroy 61 Close And Investigate 97 Execute! 133 Court Martial
26 The Blind Eye 62 Flashpoint 98 Strike Force 134 Big Bill The Bastard
27 Eagles Over Taranto 63 White Death 99 The Big Hunt 135 Confirmed In Command
28 Escort Ship 64 The Deserter 100 Operation Jackal 136 Operational Immediate
29 Fleet Destroyer 65 The Duel 101 And The Heavens Spoke 137 The Dark Of The Night
30 The Rocky 66 Whispering Death 102 Not Wanted On Voyage 138 Liberty Men
31 The Lesson 67 Point Of Departure 103 The Last Stand 139 The Shadow
32 Clear For Action 68 Loom Of Ice 104 Object: Destruction 140 Standoff
33 Battle Line 69 Foul Ground 105 Battle Hymn 141 Death Of A Destroyer
34 The Long Haul 70 Under Sealed Orders 106 Fog Blind
35 Away Boarders! 71 Hell Ship 107 Died Fighting
36 The First Lieutenant 72 The Convert 108 Circle Of Fire

The Collector's Series[edit]

The collector's series is another re-release of most titles from the Horwitz Naval Series. The covers were mainly coloured gold and as a result this series is also known as the gold series.

The Collector's Series
No. Title      No. Title      No. Title      No. Title
1 Stand By To Ram 37 Battle Fire 73 Under Sealed Orders 109 Guns For God
2 Target Unidentified 38 The Ordeal 74 Hell Ship 110 Damn The Torpedoes
3 Battle Ensign 39 Sainsbury, V.C. 75 The Convert 111 Torpedo Junction
4 Enemy In Sight 40 Flotilla Leader 76 Petty Officer Brady 112 First Command!
5 Command 41 Abandon Ship 77 Valiant Mission 113 Standing Into Danger
6 Alarm-E-Boats! 42 Conflict 78 Down The Throat 114 The Worst Enemy
7 The Weak Link 43 Repel Boarders 79 Mission Hopeless 115 Northwest By North
8 Presumed Sunk 44 Not Under Command 80 Combat Assignment 116 Chain Of Violence
9 Mutiny 45 Fire One! 81 Judas Rat 117 Close Up
10 Target Battleship 46 The Buffer 82 High Command 118 False Colours
11 Dive! Dive! Dive! 47 Decision 83 Approved To Scrap 119 The Brave Men
12 Coffin Island 48 Abandon And Destroy 84 Attack And Be Damned 120 Point Blank
13 Frogman 49 The Pawn 85 The Snake Boats 121 Most Immediate
14 Killer Ship 50 The Gun 86 Hunter-Killer 122 This Ship Is Mine
15 Night Encounter 51 Sabotage! 87 White Fury 123 The Trap
16 The Secret Weapon 52 Collision Course 88 Dit Spinner 124 The Verge Of Hell
17 Brood of the Eagle 53 The Big Wind 89 The Hammer Of God 125 Blind Into Doom
18 The Surgeon 54 Killer Group 90 The Power & the Privilege 126 Fire Storm
19 The Gunner 55 The Mistake 91 Headlong Into Hell 127 The Iron Claw
20 The Recommend 56 Course To Intercept 92 Full Fathom Five 128 Attack!
21 The Coxswain 57 Creeping Attack 93 Not Wanted On Voyage 129 A Council of Captains
22 The Challenge 58 The Jaws Of Hell 94 To The Death 130 The Kill
23 Convoy 59 Close And Investigate 95 The Last Stand 131 Court Martial
24 Find And Destroy 60 Flashpoint 96 Execute! 132 Operational Immediate
25 The Blind Eye 61 White Death 97 Object Destruction 133 Big Bill The Bastard
26 Eagles Over Taranto 62 The Deserter 98 Strike Force 134 Confirmed In Command
27 Escort Ship 63 The Misfit 99 Battle Hymn 135 The Dark Of The Night
28 Fleet Destroyer 64 The Duel 100 The Big Hunt 136 Liberty Men
29 The Rocky 65 Whispering Death 101 Fog Blind 137 The Shadow
30 The Lesson 66 Point Of Departure 102 Operation Jackal 138 Standoff
31 Battle Line 67 Loom Of Ice 103 Died Fighting 139 Death Of A Destroyer
32 The Long Haul 68 Behemoth 104 And The Heavens Spoke 140 Wall Of Fire
33 Away Boarders! 69 Foul Ground 105 Circle Of Fire 141 Don't Gimme The Ships
34 The First Lieutenant 70 The Unforgiving Sea 106 Decoyed
35 U-Boat 71 Rat Island 107 For Valour
36 Clear For Action 72 Broadsides! 108 Torrent Of Fire

The International Espionage Series[edit]

This series was first published in America by Signet under the pseudonym James Dark. It was later published in Australia by Horwitz Publications as J. E. Macdonnell and some titles were changed. Additional titles were used for some non-English language versions, as well. The year shown reflects the original American year of publication. Australian titles are shown only where they differ.

The International Espionage Series
No. American Title Year Australian Title
JD1 Come Die With Me 1965
JD2 The Bamboo Bomb 1965
JD3 Hong Kong Incident 1966 Assignment: Hong Kong
JD4 Assignment Tokyo 1966 Operation MissSat
JD5 Spy from the Deep 1966
JD6 Operation Scuba 1967 Caribbean Striker
JD7 Throne of Satan 1967 Black Napoleon
JD8 The Sword of Genghis Khan 1967
JD9 Spying Blind 1968
JD10 Operation Octopus 1968
JD11 Operation Ice Cap 1969
JD12 The Invisibles[notes 1] 1969
JD13 Sea Scrape 1970 The Reluctant Assassin

The Medical Series[edit]

This series was published by Horwitz Publications under the name J. E. Macdonnell. At least some titles were published as part of the J. E. Macdonnell Series, along with other Macdonnell titles. They were also released as a separate series numbered MS1 - MS12. At least two titles were published under the pseudonym Kerry Mitchell.[1] Macdonnell may have written other medical romance novels released by Horwitz under the name Kerry Mitchell, as well.[2] The back cover of one edition says of Macdonnell, in part, "...In researching for this series of medical novels, he has witnessed more than fifty major surgical operations - and only fainted once...![5]"

The Medical Series
No. Title Year
MS1 A Pair of Hands 1960
MS2 The Scalpel 1961
MS3 Flight 425 1961
MS4 The Doctor’s Challenge 1961
MS5 Outback Emergency 1962
MS6 Doctor on Approval 1962
MS7 Wrong Diagnosis 1962
MS8 Doctor Defiant 1962
MS9 Sea Surgeon 1963
MS10 The Doctor’s Experiment 1963
MS11 Doctor on Test 1963
MS12 The Doctor’s Mistake 1967

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Australian series numbers both this book and The Reluctant Assassin as JD13. JD12 is omitted. This appears to be a printing error.

2. Commander Brady, Published by Constable 1956, Reprinted 1956, Corgi Books 1957, Re-issued 1971. Although this book is credited with J.E. Macdonnell as writer. The style of writing does not seem to be his.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Author record, J. E. Macdonnell, AustLit (www.austlit.edu.au), 2002-20/05/2008
  2. ^ a b c “news2.pdf, Greg Ray” http://www.warrigalpress.com.au/news2.pdf
  3. ^ “James Edmond Macdonnell, James MacNell and 'Mettle'”, http://www.collectingbooksandmagazines.com/mettle.html
  4. ^ Macdonnell, J. E.: "Alias Carton", back cover. Horwitz Publications, 1961
  5. ^ Macdonnell, J. E.: Doctor On Test, back cover. Horwitz Publications, 1963