Introduction Biography Addresses Portraits
Books Short stories Stage plays Film and TV Radio and audio
Quotations Fishing Poetry Food Settings Dedications Narrative style Canning in the OED Reading lists Articles on Canning
Centenary News Links Availability

The Manasco Road (1957)

Novel (256 pages, 82,000 words)

First edition
First edition
Book Club	edition
Foyles Book Club
Uniform edition
Uniform edition

The Book

The book combines a David-and-Goliath story with a sensitive description of a marriage under strain. The setting is Majorca where Nick Thorne and his partner Domingo Peroni run a trading company. Peroni has just bid on a salvage contract to recover the cargo of a wrecked freighter. The profit would be substantial, but the beach where the cargo must be landed is accessible only through the estate of Casares Manasco, and he curtly refuses permission to cross his land. It is up to Nick to find out how to circumvent him, and meanwhile to deal with his own marital crisis.

Publishing History

This was published by Hodder and Stoughton in 1957 at 12/6 with a print run of 11,000. There was a book club edition in 1958 and a paperback edition in October 1964 at 3/6 with a print run of 20,000. The US edition by W. Sloane Associates appeared in 1957, and there was a paperback under the title The forbidden road in 1959. It was serialised in the magazine Argosy in Jan/Feb/Mar 1957 but in an abridged version. The book was included in the Heinemann uniform edition of the 1970s.

A review in The Oxford Mail said: "... an expert piece by an expert. Mr Canning's thrillers are always polished pieces and this is no exception. The suspense exists at two levels: will the hero fulfil his Spanish salvage contract and will his marriage survive the discovery of his wife's chance infidelity? Each level feeds the other. His wounded pride drives him into a duel with a powerful racketeer, the violent course of which is unfolded with great skill."

Canning set part of one other book in the Balearic Islands, The Python Project, the last quarter of which takes place in Ibiza. As far as I know Canning only visited the islands as a tourist, though he obviously made careful observations of the scenery and wildlife.