Phantom Titles


One aspect of any form of collecting is the discovery of exceptions and anomalies. I sometimes wonder whether the collecting of and research into juveniles series books would be half as interesting were it not for the oddities we stumble over in this pursuit. Much of this area has already been explored in relation to the American editions of such series; and we have read of these discoveries in the pages of the very magazine you hold in your hands. So I thought I might share with you some similar oddities and anomalies – all relating to the foreign editions of American series books.

I have broken this article down into five sections: the phantom titles (titles mentioned at the end of certain books or advertised in certain books, but never published in that language or those editions); mis-titles (titles erroneously printed on either covers or title pages); re-titles (titles mentioned in advance but changed at publication); additions (titles added to a series but which were never published in the original American series); and missing believed non-existent (you’ll see).

Before launching into these listings, let me say here that, over the last 25 years or so, I have amassed a great deal of information on the foreign editions of your favorite American series – listings, publication dates, foreign titles, etc. The present article is an attempt to share some of these gatherings which I hope to add to in the future with further articles. In the meantime, if you are looking for information on any particular foreign edition of a series, the chances are that I’ll have something on it. So, drop me a line or an e-mail – I’ll be only too pleased to oblige if I can. Contact details at end of article.


Chris Cool series: “Chris Cool et le mort vivant”
This title, in translation meaning the ‘Living Death’, was announced at the end of the French Hachette edition of ‘Trial by Fury’  in 1973 but never published.

Dana Girls series: “L’héritage des Vikings”
This title, in translation meaning the ‘Heritage of the Vikings’, appeared at the end of the French Hachette edition of ‘Mountain-Peak Mystery’ in 1980. Given the Viking mention, it was probably to have been ‘Hundred-Year Mystery’, but never appeared in France.

The Tom Swift jr series: “De reuzen-robot wint!”
In the mid-fifties, a Dutch publisher – Hollandia – published three titles from the Tom Swift jr series. The author’s name was given as Willy van der Heide, a popular children’s author of the time. The Appleton name was suppressed. This was presumably to lead children to think that Willy van der Heide – who already had at least two other popular Dutch series on the go – had created the character of Tom Swift. However, the plan must have backfired as, although announced at the end of ‘Tom Swift and his Rocket Ship’ in 1955, the above-mentioned title (in translation, ‘The Giant Robot Wins!’) was never published by Hollandia. It did appear, under another title and with another Dutch publisher, some years later.

The James Budd series by Dale Carlson: “Secret of the Circus of Terror”
This title appears at the end of the British edition of ‘Mystery of Galaxy Games’, published by Dragon/Granada in paperback in 1985. It was never published.


Dana Girls series:
“Le pic du diable” – original French title for “Le volcan endormi” or “Mountain-Peak Mystery”.

Bomba series:
At the end of # 12 in the German edition published by AWA-Verlag, the following title is announced as “Bombas Heimkehr” (Bomba’s Homecoming). However, when published in 1955, it became “Bomba auf dem Heimkehrpfad” (Bomba on the Way Home), in reality a 2-in-1 comprising  “The River Demons” and “The Hostile Chieftain”.

The new Three Investigators series:
“Thriller Diller” re-titled “Hollywood Horror” when published in 1990 by Armada in the UK.

In the Belgian Dutch-language edition of this series, of which the first 6 titles were published, not only were they published and numbered wrongly  (2 as 1, 1 as 2, 3 correct, 5 as 4, 6 as 5, 4 as 6), but the stories have been altered to take place in Belgium, with the three characters re-named with Belgian names!

The Sue Barton series:
When published in French by Belgian publisher Marabout in paperback, “Susan Barton, infirmière à New York” (1956, “Visiting Nurse”) was shortened in later editions to “Susan Barton à New York”.

The Bobbsey Twins series:
British alterations:

At Whitesail Harbor – At Whitesail Harbour (World Distributors, 1956)

At London Tower – At the Tower of London (World Distributors, 1960)

Own Little Railroad – Own Little Railway (World Distributors, 1961)

The Trixie Belden series:
British alteration:

The Red Trailer Mystery – The Red Caravan Mystery (World Distributors, 1961)

The Hardy Boys series:
British alterations:

Hidden Harbor Mystery – Hidden Harbour Mystery (Hill, 1957)

Disappearing Floor – Mystery of the Disappearing Floor (Armada, 1974)

Melted Coins – Mystery of the Melted Coins (Armada, 1974)

Missing Chums – Mystery of the Missing Friends (Armada, 1982)

Program for Destruction – Programme for Destruction (Armada, 1991)

In the Portuguese edition published by Verbo in paperback, at the end of # 17 the following title is announced as “A garra torcida” (literally, the twisted claw).

However, it was published as “O regresso do rei-pirata” (literally, the hide-out of the pirate king).

The Bobbsey Twins series:
The Spanish title “Los gemelos y el fuego del castillo de nieve” (Toray, pc, 1978) was shortened to “Los gemelos y el castillo de nieve” (“Bobbsey Twins’ Wonderful Secret”) in later editions.


Tom Swift series:
At the end of the Third Series volume, The War in Outer Space, the following title is announced as The Space Fortress. In fact, it was entitled The Astral Fortress.

In the French “Lecture et Loisirs” editions, the title of Rocket Ship is “Sa fusée spatial”; however, the inside title page shows it as “Sa fusée interplanétaire”.

Nancy Drew series:
“Mystery of the Fiery Dragon” – mis-title on spine and front boards of first British edition of “Fire Dragon”, published Sampson Low 1963.

“Clue of the Whispering Bagpipes” – mis-title on spine and front boards of first British edition of “Whistling Bagpipes”, publ. Sampson Low 1964.

“Sapphire Spider” – mis-title of 2-in-1 published by Armada 1993. This mis-title appears on both spine and cover of pb; other title is “Mystery at the Ski Jump”.

“Ghost of Blackwood Hall” – #11 in the Collins/Armada numbering, the 1985 impression bears the #1 on the spine, with #11 on the cover.

“Mysteriet i Kroen” – correct title in Danish for ”Lilac Inn”, published in 1959, but ”Mysteriet i Syren-kroen” (”Mystery in the Lilac Inn”) appears on title page.

”De røde balletsko”, meaning ”The Red Ballet Slippers” (”Scarlet Slipper Mystery”), appears as ”Den røde balletsko” meaning the ”The Red Ballet Slipper” (singular) on the title page.

”De sorte nøgler”, meaning ”The Black Keys”, appears as ”Den sorte nøgle”, meaning ”The Black Key” (singular) on the title page.

The Hardy Boys series:
“The Secret of Pirate’s Hill” on the cover and spine of the Sampson Low edition instead of “Pirates’”. Correct on dustjacket.

“Ghost of Skeleton Rock” on the cover and spine of the Sampson Low edition instead of “at”. Correct on dustjacket.

The Connie Blair series:
“Puzzle in Purple” appears in Danish in 1969 as “Connie på tegneskole” on the cover and “Connie på tegnestue” on the title page. The difference is that the former means “Connie at Art College” while the latter means  “Connie in the Art Studio”.

The Honey Bunch and Norman series:
“Visit to Beaver Lodge” appears on the spine of the boards of the Sampson Low edition; on the dustjacket and title page it is “Visit Beaver Lodge”.


The Three Investigators series:
In the German edition published by Franck’sche, this series is so popular that the German readers were not satisfied with the mere 43 titles as published in the U.S., so the German publishers got German writers to write (so far) a further 44 titles. To complicate matters further, the Czech and Slovak editions have also published some of these German titles!

The Three Investigators for Kids series:
Yet another German innovation: Franck’sche contracted with local author

Ulf Blanck to write (so far) 5 titles for younger readers.

The Billie Bradley series:
Not satisfied with the original 9 titles in this series, the Dutch got author

Francine Schregel-Onstein, under license from the Stratemeyer Syndicate according to Dutch library records, to pen a further 6 or possibly 7 titles.


The Tom Swift jr series:
Rumors have abounded about the existence of an Italian edition of  “The Galaxy Ghosts”: well, let those rumors rest, as I have a copy of this title. It was published in 1973 by Vallecchi in pb, with cover art by Lovergine, and is called “Tom Swift e i fantasmi delle galassie”.

The Ted Scott series:
This is one that must have slipped in before Hitler started burning “subversive” literature. Union Deutsche Verlag published “Over the Ocean to Paris” under the title “Ted Scott der Oceanflieger” in 1930. Printed in Gothic script on high-quality cream paper, it has a glossy frontispiece and 3 black and white internal illustrations by one W. Chomton. The book must have been popular as it was reprinted at least six times between 1930 and 1933.