A Poacher's Tale

Gentles; noun.  A soft maggot used as bait by anglers.

I am reading a book that I first read in my early teens; “A Poacher’s Tale” by Fred J Speakman and Alfred T Curtis.

Mr Curtis was a poacher and gamekeeper who lived his life immersed in the natural world from the perspective of having to feed his family, and Mr. Speakman, an author and natural historian who lived in Epping Forest.

The issue I have bought is the eight edition copy printed in 1979. It’s utterly pristine and I purchased it from Abe’s Books in the UK. My Dad has the 1960 first edition; it has been read many times and shows the wear. As much as I wanted to re-read the book, I couldn’t bring myself to borrow, and risk damaging, a volume with so much sentimental attachment for me. My version still has the same lovely dust cover with the drawing of a poacher’s hand holding up a ferret. I suspect Dad thinks I’m barking for having gone off and bought another copy.

I think it was worth every cent and I highly recommend this book as a window into the skilled and fascinating lifestyle of Mr Curtis and folk like him before, during and after WWII.


just read with interest that you have just read "The Poachers Tale" glad to see the book is still being enjoyed. My Grandad was Alf Curtis and my mum one of his 7 daughters has just turned 90.


Gaynor Evans