Tam's Tall Tales

- Nat Karta – King of Tartan Pulp Comes Home

“A story that tears at the very vitals of life; it lifts you to heights of screaming passion,
and carries you from first page to last on a torrent of action that is as thrilling as the climatic movement of a great symphony or the kiss of a beautiful woman …

Nat Karta – King of Tartan Pulp Comes Home
In the early 1950s, the Glasgow based publishing house Muir-Watson was selling books like the proverbial hot cakes. The Merry Virgin was a smash hit and shortly followed by A Dame Called Desire, The Sin of Miss Bishop and a string of other volumes decorated with ladies showing a fair bit of frontage. The author was named as a gentleman called Nat Karta whose biographical notes claimed he had three hates … marriage, children and personal publicity.

Nat Karta was the nom de plume of John Watson, a journalist who had a distinguished wartime career as a pilot.

In 1947 a serious publishing venture had failed and he needed some way of paying the bills. Soon the punters were snapping up the schlock faster than he could rattle them out so he enlisted Norman Lazenby to help keep the Karta franchise alive and the cash registers ringing in grim post war Britain.

In 1952 Watson sold the rights in the “Nat Karta” name (along with those of his other creations “Hans Vogel” and “Hyman Zore”) to the London-based Scion imprint. At the time sales were good, but the successor firm was hit by a series of prosecutions from local authorities and the Nat Karta name slid into obscurity. Recently the word went out from the venerable National Library of Scotland (pictured here) to 'get Karta' .

Normally the library obtains copies of all new books from publishers, but that had not happened with Merry Virgin and its successors. That situation has now been rectified and the library has got a set of these unique volumes.

Please give me whatever feedback comes to mind via tamfromrampant@gmail.com.

Tam O'Ranter
January 2016

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