C. Northcote Parkinson (1909-1993)

Full name: Cyril Northcote Parkinson. British author. A naval historian, professor and author of a number of scholarly historical and political works, he seems an unlikely candidate for a pony book author! He was born in 1909 in County Durham and graduated from Cambridge University. There he became interested in naval history. He also joined the territorial army in which he rose to position of Major. He worked as an instructor and professor in many universities throughout the world and at the same time wrote many books, including historical fiction and non-fiction and political and economic treaties. Probably best known for his work Parkinson's Law - a political/economic satire in which the titular law was 'work expands to fill the time available for it's completion.'

The author's writing style was often satirical and humourously cynical, and this tone dominates his one pony story, which is an unusual novel in which the ponies of a riding school decide to change the status quo. It is something of a satire on the traditional pony story as can be gathered from reading the author's own preface. Knowledge of the pony world came from the family ponies Fairy and Spice, to whom the book is dedicated.

Pony Books:

PONIES PLOT
(JOHN MURRAY 1965)
ILLUSTRATED BY VIOLET MORGAN
Reprinted in paperback by Puffin in 1968, and again a number of times in the 1970s.
Published in the USA by Houghton Mifflin in 1965.
EDITION PICTURED: 1970s Puffin paperback edition.
SUMMARY: Pony point of view story. A satirical take on the pony novel in which the ponies from the Dundreary Riding School decide to take matters into their own 'hooves' and try and arrange to find perfect owners for themselves. Their plans alas go awry! A funny story, although you may be disappointed if you are expecting a traditional pony story; this certainly is far from that!
PONYMAD RATING: 3 HORSESHOES

Collectors Info:
The book, especially the paperback edition, is easy to find in the UK. The hardback editions are a lot rarer but not impossible to find. The book was also published in the USA and this edition can be found there reasonably easily.