Friday, October 25, 2013

Coachwhip's Willoughby Sharp Reprints Are Looking Sharp!

Coachwhip now has available the two 1930s detective novels, Murder in Bermuda and Murder of the Honest Broker, by William Willoughby Sharp (1900-1956), one-time stockbroker and dilettante detective novelist.

I found these two books quite entertaining and I think Coachwhip has done a great job with these editions, to which I contributed a sizable introductory essay about the author and his publisher, Claude Kendall.

Murder in Bermuda is an early police procedural style detective novel, with a lot of local color and a good plot.
After the great stock market crash, Sharp, in an attempt at downsizing, gave up his seat on the New York Stock Exchange and moved with his wife and children to the island, where they lived for several years.

With both his detective novels, Sharp seems to have been a firm believer in the adage, "write what you know."

Murder of the Honest Broker, which came next, is about a double murder at the New York Stock Exchange (as Sharp well knew, there was a lot of resentment against brokers back then too!).  I particularly enjoyed the sarcastic police detective, who hates gentleman amateur sleuths.

Included with Murder in Bermuda is a pulp crime story Sharp published when he was a college student.

If you like classic mystery--and if you don't, why are you here--you should like both these novels.

Also check out this earlier blog piece on Willoughby Sharp, which includes a photo of him from the 1930s (the reprints include a prep school photo as well).

There should be one more mystery reprint project with Coachwhip--a woman author--out this year, so stay tuned. Coachwhip also has reprinted Todd Downing and Kirke Mchem, in editions with introductions by me, all part of an effort to further capture the world of Golden Age American mystery (it wasn't just hard-boiled!).


  1. I haven't had the pleasure of reading these, but I was struck by the attractive design and typography. Too often small presses think they have to pull out all the stops to get my attention. This design stands out because of its simplicity and elegance -- and because whoever did the type kerned it beautifully! I'd pick this up from any shelf and I hope they keep to this aesthetic.

  2. Noah, I so agree, "simplicity and elegance": that describes it. It's a nice thing about working with Coachwhip, they want to get those design details right.

  3. These look great - thanks Curt, looking forward to getting them.