|note at bottom Christie tribute blurbs|
from Ellery Queen and John Dickson Carr
Blues for the Prince, by Bart Spicer (rich and moving picture of the world of jazz music, in semi-tough manner)
Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey (high straight-novel characterization combined with solid detection)
Frightened Amazon, by Aaron Marc Stein (vivid study of unusual folkways)
Mischief, by Charlotte Armstrong (psychologically valid and purely terrifying)
The Bride of Newgate, by John Dickson Carr (the familiar--and incomparable--Carr virtues in the new form of a historical romance)
The Case of the Negligent Nymph, by Erle Stanley Gardner (there were only three Gardners this year; this is the best)
|before Macdonald was merely "Ross"|
The Motive, by Evelyn Piper (best of the "best," as novel, as puzzle, as pioneer in a new type of mystery story)
The Rim of Terror, by Hildegarde Teilhet (best of the year's spy-pursuit thrillers)
The Wind Blows Death, by Cyril Hare (When the Wind Blows) (wittily literate British import)
Through a Glass Darkly, by Helen McCloy (impeccable plotting, eerie writing)
An interesting list. The first thing that strikes me is that seven of the novel are in print, or have been in print within the last quarter century.
Probably almost completely forgotten is the Aaron Marc Stein book. The relatively forgotten ones are the novels by Evelyn Piper, Hildegarde Teilhet and Helen McCloy, though these writers are not forgotten by collectors. Piper does have one book in print that I know of, Bunny Lake Is Missing (1957), likely on the strength of the well-received film adaptation from the 1960s, which starred Laurence Olivier and Carol Lynley. In the 1950s and 1960s, Piper definitely was considered a notable American psychological suspense writer.
Six of the writers are women, six men (did Boucher do that deliberately?), but only three, I believe, are English. Classical detection at its purest is represented by Christie and Hare and, I imagine, the Gardner, which I have not read.
|not on the list|
The Stein, which I also have not read, probably is purer detection, but it sounds like the main reason Boucher liked it was local color (Boucher was a great fan of local color). Then with Teilhet we have spies and with Macdonald and Spicer hard-boiled. Hard-boiled arguably is underrepresented--or an American list, anyway--but no way was Boucher picking a Spillane! That was not. going. to. happen. in a Boucher column in 1950.