Originally Posted by David Orsam
In point of fact, Keith, there is no evidence which suggests when Mike went looking for a Victorian diary or whether it was before or after his telephone call on 9th March 1992. To be able to say one way or the other, we would need to know the date when he instructed Martin Earl to obtain one on his behalf but, as I mentioned in my previous post, this has not been established. While I personally think it most likely that Mike made the call first and then instructed Earl this is mere supposition on my part. But I think it would have been uncontroversial for Henry to have asked this question:
Why did the liar and wannabe writer Mike Barrett go to some lengths to acquire a blank Victorian diary a short time before producing the Jack the Ripper Diary?
I'm looking forward to reading the answer.
Well that may be what they said to you in 2004 but in 1992 their instructions to dealers (posted in full below) seem to me to be perfectly clear. They state:
"Lists to appear only once should be addressed to Bookdealer, PO Box 1082, Winscombe, Avon BS24 6BX to arrive first post Wednesday for inclusion in next week's issue."
There is no indication in the instructions that any other method of transmission is acceptable.
In early 1992, Martin Earl's advertisements in Book and Magazine Collector and his entries in Bookdealer contain two telephone numbers but no fax number (which is not to say he didn't have one). Given the relatively poor quality of fax transmissions that I remember in the early 1990s, I would have thought that, for the purposes of accuracy, most dealers would have wanted to post their lists in hard copy format. Perhaps emergency late requests were accepted by fax but there is nothing to indicate that this is the case in the instructions, as you can see.
One other thing about Bookdealer's instructions is that it is stated that lists were printed in the next issue "Strictly in the order received". In the 19th March 1992 issue, the lists for 'Books Wanted' commenced on page 9 and concluded on page 156. Martin Earl's list featured on page 69.
Mr Orsam, you remain absolutely indispensable. And if your indefatigability irritates the odd yay-sayer here and there, well, all the better.
One thing that I find quite compelling is the fact that the diary MB got hold of was too small for his purposes, he claims. And indeed we have confirmation that it is
too small. And having been frustrated in this, and being pressed for time, the Diary appears not in a diary at all, but in a denuded scrapbook, which is of course larger than many a diary. That ties together MB and the Diary logically and consistently for me far more completely than a word I've read so far about the floorboards or the timesheets.