Friday, July 26, 2013

Who Killed Charmian Karslake? Revisited

Here is the dust jacket to the American edition of Annie Haynes' Who Killed Charmian Karslake? (1930), recently reviewed here.

On the back panel of the jacket Dodd, Mead urges its readers to

Watch for books this Spring by the following well-known authors:


How many of these authors have you read?  It's interesting that not one is American (all are British).  And only two women (yes, one of the "men" was a woman who used a male pseudonym).  Dodd, Mead did not have much in the way of American series mystery authors at the time (though there was Charles J. Dutton, reviewed by blogger John Norris here, a certain individual named Sinclair Gluck, and a new Dodd, Mead writer named Carl Clausen, who though born in Denmark, lived in the United States).

On the front flap, Haynes' earlier The Crow's Inn Tragedy is praised "for its realistic background and its skillful plot, two necessary qualities of a good detective story."  On the back flap John Rhode's (John Street's) Peril at Cranbury Hall is blurbed.  "Among the present-day writers of detective stories," declares Dodd, Mead, "John Rhode stands in the front rank."

In Masters of the "Humdrum" Mystery, I write about John Street's relationship with Dodd, Mead, having had access to his correspondence with the publisher.  I think it's very interesting material.

Let's hope that one day John Rhode's literary agency will allow him to be (legally) reprinted! It would be nice, for that matter, to reprint Annie Haynes, who died way back in 1929 and hasn't been reprinted in over eighty years and is quite collectible.

One more thing for now: Here's a blog interview I did with Pietro De Palma, over at his blog, Death Can Read.  See also this interview with Rich Westwood at Past Offences, if you haven't already!


  1. I read this post last night after work and came back to it this afternoon, hoping someone would mention who the female author was. But no, I had to make an educated guess and to my delight got it right. I found one book of hers at Open Library which I will read when I get a chance.

  2. Audra, which book is this? Glad you got it right! Thank goodness no one went by the pseudonym "Carlos Danger."

  3. Death Knocks Three Times. You never know what you're going to get with Open Library. Most copies are great but apparently no one ever proofreads them. I would go ahead and start it but I have two murders going right now and don't want to get confused.

  4. "How many of these authors have you read?"

    I've read seven of them. I'm quite pleased with myself for that. Bruce Graeme was the author of the Blackshirt books, Blackshirt being a sort of cross between Raffles and the Saint. So more a thriller writer than a detective story writer.

    I've read one Anthony Gilbert, the rather mediocre Murder by Experts. I'm unlikely to be tempted to read more of her work.

    On the other hand the one Arthur J. Rees that I've read, The Hand in the Dark, was excellent.

  5. Except for Freeman and Graeme (hearing of him for the first time), I have read the others. And I rate Anthony Gilbert very high. Her DEATH KNOCKS THREE TIMES and THE CLOCK IN THE HATBOX are real classics. Second the opinion about THE HAND IN THE DARK. Excellent stuff.