Happily many of their novels are being reprinted this summer by Mysterious Press/Open Road, and by next year most all of their work may be out in print in English, a first for these authors, who in fact were two of the most important figures in the mystery field over a period of three decades.
I'm certainly not the only person to blog about Jonathan Stagge. You can find other pieces at Mystery*File, Pretty Sinister Books, Death Can Read and Tipping My Fedora, for example. This devotion is especially remarkable in that Jonathan Stagge has been out of print since the 1950s. Patrick Quentin, the best known of the Webb-Wheeler pseudonyms, was reprinted in English in the 1980s and 1990s and Q. Patrick's name was kept alive by The Grindle Nightmare (see John Norris' great review here and mine here; I also wrote about the book extensively in the Edgar-nominated Murder in the Closet, in a chapter about the relationship of Rickie Webb and Hugh Wheeler, which has only been recently recognized for what it was: a longtime companionship.) However, Jonathan Stagge rather faded, in public memory, though count on the international corps of classic crime fiction bloggers to keep the flames of memory burning!
|my battered copy of the|
American hardcover edition
of Jonathan Stagge's first
Dr. Hugh Westlake mystery,
which originally appeared
in a serial in 1935
1935 saw not just The Grindle Nightmare, but a serial novel and two novellas, two of which, the novel The Dogs Do Bark and the novella The Frightened Landlady, concerned the adventures of Dr. Hugh Cavendish Westlake (notice the first name and those initials), who in his amateur murder investigations is often aided, however unwittingly, by his rambunctious 10-year-old daughter, Dawn (in the earlier books unsentimentally dubbed "Brat" by Dr. Westlake, which is an accurate enough description for some readers.)
The serial Dr. Westlake mysteries were published under the Q. Patrick pseudonym, though when The Dogs Do Bark (Murder Gone to Earth in the UK) was published, in expanded form, as the first Dr. Westlake hardcover novel in late 1936, it was attributed to the new Jonathan Stagge nom de plume.
Two other serial Westlake novels were published under the Q. Patrick pen name in early 1936, The Scarlet Circle and Murder or Mercy? The latter was published as the second Westlake hardcover novel at the end of 1937 (in the US under the title Murder by Prescription), but The Scarlet Circle was not published as a hardcover novel until 1943, when Rickie and Hugh were going off to war (Rickie to New Guinea, Hugh to, well, Fort Dix, New Jersey), making it the sixth Westlake hardcover novel, even though it was third Westlake adventure actually published.
Why this delay in publishing The Scarlet Circle in hardcover? It can't be because the quality was deemed doubtful, because it's one of the best of the Stagge books. (See my review here.) But I have a theory, and it's coming soon, along with a piece on the first three Stagge novels.