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23 January 2010

Keane Wilson (Pseudonym for Moira Wilson)

Moira Wilson was born on 27 December 1916. She received a B.A. but little is known about her. Moira worked as a Private Secretary for the Banque National de Paris, and a secondary teacher. She has contributed to Woman’s Day magazines in Australia and the Malay Times in Singapore (Who’s Who 729). Wilson wrote three titles in the Pip series, Pip and Andrew being the second. Other titles included Pip of Pynalong in 1949 and Pip and Andrew in Danger in 1950. She also wrote two other children’s stories in addition to the Pip series. All except one of her books was published by Oxford University Press.

Pip and Andrew - Schoolmates. Melbourne: Oxford University Press Geoffrey Cumberlege, 1949. 110 pages. Not illus.

The second title in the ‘Pip’ series sees Pip return to his school, Brooklands, with his neighbour, Andrew. Pip wonders how carefree Andrew will fit in as a new boy, and his suspicions are confirmed when Andrew soon finds himself in trouble with Simpson, the school bully, and the Headmaster, Dr Bean. The mystery plot of the story involves the mysterious new French master, Monsieur Dubois. Simpson spreads a story round the school that Monsieur Dubois is a spy, which is strengthened when the police visit the school to inform the Head that a German P.O.W. has escaped. British boys’ school stories published during and after the Second World War often featured adventure plots involving spies and war prisoners, and Pip and Andrew, is one of the few Australian boys’ stories to do this. While many Australian boys’ school stories dealt with the First World War, few stories looked at the Second World War. The Head suspects Andrew spread the rumour and punishes him. When Monsieur Dubois goes missing, Pip and Andrew search for him and find him trapped in a gully and rescue him. When the Head discovers that Simpson was the real source of the false rumour, Simpson is expelled. The portrayal of Simpson as the school bully and his ultimate expulsion, are standard of the bully characters who appeared in some boys’ school stories. Monsieur Dubois reveals that he is a scientist studying wildlife; hence his mysterious visits into the bush.

Pip and Andrew in Danger. Melbourne: Oxford University Press Geoffrey Cumberlege, 1950. 111 pages. Not illus.

Pip and Andrew in Danger continues the adventures of friends Pip Raynor and Andrew James at Brooklands, the boarding school they attend. They quickly find themselves caught up in a mystery surrounding one of their schoolmates, George, who is being threatened by two dangerous looking men. Pip and Andrew and one of their teachers, Monsieur Dubois are given a wallet when they rescue a man from a capsized yacht. This wallet contains a valuable scientific formula which the two men are trying to steal. The two men kidnap Pip, Andrew and George and the trio are later rescued by Monsieur Dubois and the two men are apprehended by the police. The boys receive medals from the government in a ceremony at the end of term in recognition of their courage and loyalty. Pip and Andrew in Danger employs an adventure/mystery motif popular of contemporary school stories of the time. Other stories which deal with valuable scientific formulas include Potter’s Althea’s Term at Winterton.


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