For information on the later German second editions,
In 1967, four Brains Benton titles were published in Germany by Delphin-Verlag, as part of the Goldene Happy-Bücher collection of stories. The following year, the German version of Painted Dragon was also released, but it appears that the one remaining title, Stolen Dummy, was never published in this format (it is certainly not listed in the German National Library Catalogue). It is completely unknown why this story was passed-up for publication in Germany.
As with the French series, most of the covers
featured a subtitle denoting that the books belonged to the
Brains Benton series. The subtitle for the German titles is: Detektiv Agentur Benton und Carson (Benton
and Carson Detective Agency) and is visible on the cover scans below. The only exception is the first title,
Message, where the subtitle is absent.
Interestingly, a surviving price sticker on one particular copy of Counterfeit Coin (as seen above) indicates that these books originally sold for a retail price of 1.50 DM (Deutsche Marks).
Unique to the German 'Mini-Golden' editions is an internal list of the other books in the 'Benton und Carson' series. This list can only be found in the last three titles to be released (the example shown above is from Roving Rolls). The text prior to the list literally translates as follows:
"The Benton and Carson detective agency has solved many cases with imagination and courage. George Wyatt reports on the exciting experiences of the two detectives in the Golden Happy-Books."
The title of the German version of Roving Rolls (Ein Rolls-Royce aus Abbudan) can be literally translated back into English as 'A Rolls-Royce from Abbudan', Abbudan being the new name for the fictitious foreign state that is central to the story. In the original US text (and the French 'Mini-Golden' edition) the foreign state is called Kassabeba.
The German second editions are undoubtedly the most extraordinary and remarkable Brains Benton publications to be found in Europe. These slim and attractive hardbound books have the dubious and unique honour of being credited to neither Charles Spain Verral nor George Wyatt. Instead, these reprints of Missing Message and Counterfeit Coin are attributed to the pseudonym of Frank Milford.
In addition to this bizarre and unusual characteristic, comes a further surprise; the revelation that the titles of these reprints are completely different to the original German releases. For example, the translated title for the 'Mini-Golden' version of Missing Message is Das Verlorene Dokument (The Lost Document), whereas the later, second edition of the same book is entitled X Ruft Agent 03 (X Calls Operative Three).
Published by Engelbert-Verlag as part of the 'peb Bücherei' series in 1975, the books contain the same abridged translations found in the original ‘Mini-Golden’ editions released eight years previously (by Wolfram Viertel and Margarethe Moeller). There are no internal illustrations in these thin volumes, which run to less than a hundred pages each.
The covers – adorned with colourful and quirky artwork by artist Werner Heymann – feature a prominent heading in a large font stating that the stories belong to the Benton & Carson Detektive (Benton & Carson Detectives) series. Unfortunately, none of the remaining four titles ever appeared in this format.
The mystery concerning the alterations made to both the author attribution and story titles is perhaps worthy of Brains and Jimmy themselves. There appears to be no reasonable or logical reason for these changes. One possible explanation is that the publishers sought a way to distinguish the new editions from the original releases. Alternatively, the introduction of the Frank Milford pseudonym could have originated from a desire to credit two books written by different people (Verral and Wyatt) to a single author, for reasons of a marketing or promotional nature.
All of this is just speculation, of course, and the real reasons for these extraordinary changes are likely to remain a mystery for many years to come.