Well, my Masters of the 'Humdrum' Mystery: Cecil John Charles Street, Freeman Wills Crofts, Alfred Walter Stewart and the British Detective Novel now is out, from McFarland Press, American publisher of a great deal of mystery genre history. I actively began this project ten years ago, so it has been a long item coming (I have grown old--well, middle-aged, anyway--in the service of genre history).
I also now have a few copies I could sell direct and sign for those who might have difficulty getting it some other way. There likely are other sellers as well that you can find, if you do an internet search. It's an expensive book, admittedly, but it's over 300 pages with nearly 40 illustrations. It's also a larger format book, about 9 by 7 inches. It actually looks more like a coffee table book, though I wish it were hardcover!
I've discussed in previous postings what the book is about, and link to that here:
The Introduction and Chapter One, which run to forty pages, provide something of a history of the genre between 1920 and 1960, chronicling how attitudes to detective fiction changed and how many modern critics are getting key matters wrong.
I think Masters is a book all lovers of Golden Age mystery fiction would enjoy, though I do wish more of the books by these authors were readily accessible. Three Connington books were reprinted by Coachwhip and about five Crofts titles have been reprinted by Langtail (Crofts is still pretty easy to find on the used market as well) and I am trying to make headway getting Street's books reprinted. Small publishers want to reprint his books, it's just a matter of getting Street's literary agency to go along!
|Originally meant to be titled The Strawstack Murder Case,|
but Doubleday "didn't think strawstacks would sell books"
I also learned that Mechem's desired title for his novel was The Strawstack Murder Case, which, as those of you who read my previous blog post will surmise, certainly makes more sense to me as a title. Mechem's publisher, according to his son Kirke, "didn't think strawstacks would sell books." How wrong they were is indicated by the success of Dorothy Cameron Disney's Strawstack just three years later.
I think we may be able to get this novel reprinted, will keep you posted. It would be lovely to bring back a fine but forgotten Golden Age detective novel back for modern-day readers.
Finally, my book on Native American detective novelist Todd Downing (1902-1974) will be out, I hope, in July (and it will be much cheaper than Masters!). I think I can promise you some good news soon on reprints as well. I will be reviewing Downing's first detective novel, the fantastically rare Murder on Tour, next week. And on Thursday comes a review of a rather fine 1931 crime novel set in...Dallas, Texas. Yes, long before someone shot J.R., there was foul play in Dallas! See you soon, I hope--The Passing Tramp.