The Musuem
Floor Plan

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

DW puts pen to paper ...

The first page of the first draft (with covering slip on left)

Click on the right hand image to enlarge

For a transcript click here

... and Joan's original drawing for the dust jacket

DW was a systematic and meticulous writer. For the most part, as with this manuscript, he wrote in pencil, although in the War he experimented with dictation. He found through experience that it was best not to correct his work a few days after writing, but rather to write about five chapters - perhaps a month's work as he reached maturity - and only then to read and revise them. He was a painstaking author, and would sometimes do a large number of drafts or revisions to typescripts before he was satisfied with the end result.

The manuscript above shows many differences to the final version. As can be seen, DW's famous opening paragraph, "The Duke de Richleau and Mr. Simon Aron had gone into dinner at eight o'clock, but coffee was not served until after ten" - which he re-used in a number of his later De Richleau novels, substituting the name of a different guest - is absent.

References: 'Drink and Ink' pp 250-253.
Phil Baker Chapter 23.

Provenance:Private Collection