The Musuem
Floor Plan

The Dennis Wheatley 'Museum' - Instant success as an author

'First blood ...' ... 'The Snake' ...

DW's first published short story: 'The Snake'

DW kept writing in his spare time in the 1920s and early 1930s, and his first published piece of fiction was 'The Snake'.

'The Snake' was a short story about an african witch doctor, and was taken for publication by the American publishing magnate George Doran.

In 'Gunmen, Gallants and Ghosts' (1943), DW told how having read the story, George Doran summoned the young DW to his bedroom at the Savoy in order to look him over and give him some fatherly advice. The story was published in December 1932 in the 'January' edition of Nash's 'Pall Mall Magazine' in the U.K. and was also published in 'Cosmopolitan' magazine in the U.S.A.

DW's pride shows - as he wrote on the above copy:

'This is our Christmas card this year -
see pages 42 - & 116 -
First Blood !
With every good wish from us both.
Dennis & Joan'

The notebook which surfaced in 2020, in which DW recorded his attempts at getting his work published, culminating in the acceptance of 'The Forbidden Territory'

DW's path to success was not, perhaps, quite as straightforward as he made it out to be in later years. The little notebook illustrated above came to light in January 2020, and in it DW recorded his attempts to get his work published in the first half of 1932. During that period, fourteen short stories and 'Three Inquisitive People' (with its earlier title of 'The Death of Lady Shoesmith') were all rejected for publication before DW met with success with 'The Snake' and 'The Forbidden Territory'. Most of the stories were published later, once the public had become familiar with the Wheatley name.

References: 'Drink and Ink' p115.
'Gunmen, Gallants and Ghosts' Story XIX
Phil Baker pp 283-4.

Provenance:ex Humphreys Collection