Sunday, July 12, 2015


In a recent post I mentioned some of the book introduction projects on which I have been working. Here I thought I would list all the books for which I have done introductions.

To me reintroducing older mysteries to classic mystery fans, whether on my blog or in new editions of the books themselves, is always enjoyable. It has been a driving passion of mine the last fifteen years to bring vintage mysteries back to light.

All aboard!
classic mystery comes back in a big way

One of the most interesting cases concerns Jefferson Farjeon's Mystery in White, which I reviewed  three and a-half years ago on my blog, in what was, I believe, the first piece on the novel on the internet and, quite possibly, the first review of the novel since the 1930s. (For that matter my very first blog post was about Farjeon.)

Back in June 2012 I received a nice email from the literary executor of the estate of the Farjeon siblings telling me that she had been looking to inform delegates to a conference whether there was anything accessible on the net about Jefferson Farjeon, so she was glad to come across my pieces. She agreed with me that Farjeon deserved something rather better than literary oblivion.

As readers of this blog are likely to know, something better indeed came to Farjeon, when, two-and-a-half years later, Mystery in White was reprinted by the British Library to much success, with tens of thousands of copies of the novel sold, as I understand it. The introduction to the reissue is not by me, of course, but here are the detective novels and series I have introduced (links provided):

A uniform 4000 word introduction to the J. J. Connington novels reprinted by Orion Books' The Murder Room series.  This was a direct offshoot of the publication of my 2012 book, Masters of the "Humdrum" Mystery, on the school of so-called "Humdrum" detective novelists (so dubbed by Julian Symons), the most prominent representatives of whom were Cecil John Charles Street (John Rhode/Miles Burton), Freeman Wills Crofts and J. J. Connington.

The nine Todd Downing novels reprinted by Coachwhip.  All but the first one have a uniform introduction, but that first one, Murder on Tour, has a special introduction that incorporates additional information I discovered about Todd Downing since the publication of my 2013 book on Todd Downing's crime writing and reviewing, Clues and Corpses.

A uniform introduction to the two detective novels by Willoughby Sharp, Murder of the Honest Broker and Murder in Bermuda (Coachwhip).

A uniform introduction to the two detective novels by Anita BlackmonMurder a la Richelieu and There Is No Return (Coachwhip).

An introduction to the one detective novel by Kirke MechemThe Strawstack Murder Case (Coachwhip).

A uniform introduction to the he three detective novels by Emma Lou FettaMurder in StyleMurder on the Face of It and Dressed to Kill (Coachwhip).

A uniform introduction to the two detective novels by Medora FieldWho Killed Aunt Maggie? and Blood on Her Shoe (Coachwhip).

An introduction to the one detective novel by Alfred MeyersMurder Ends the Song (Coachwhip).

Two individual introductions to the Golden Age detective novels of Ianthe JerroldThe Studio Crime and Dead Man's Quarry (Dean Street Pres)

An ongoing series of individual introductions to the 35 Bobby Owen detective novels of E. R. Punshon that are being reissued by DSP.  The first five novels--Information ReceivedDeath among the SunbathersCrossword MysteryMystery Villa and Death of a Beauty Queen--have been out for a couple of months and just out now are the next five in the series: Death Comes to CambersThe Bath MysteriesMystery of Mr. JessopThe Dusky Hour and Dictator's Way.

I am also completing introductions for DSP's reissue of twelve Golden Age detective novels by Annie Haynes (1865-1929), Agatha Christie's contemporary female crime writer at The Bodley Head (the English publisher of Christie's first five mystery novels).

These reissues will begin with the Inspector Stoddart series: The Man in the Dark Beard (1928), The Crime at Tattenham Corner (1929), Who Killed Charmian Karslake? (1929) and The Crystal Beads Murder (1930), and be followed by the three novels in Haynes' Inspector Furnival series--The Abbey Court Murder (1923), The House in Charlton Crescent (1926) and The Crow's Inn Tragedy (1927)--and her five stand-alones: The Bungalow Mystery (1923), The Secret of Greylands (1924), The Blue Diamond (1924), The Witness on the Roof (1925) and The Master of the Priory (1927).  Below is a sample of what one of the reissues will look like.

The Haynes reissues are particularly exciting to me because Haynes was a prominent Golden Age crime writer about whom practically nothing seemed to be known in the modern era.  Oh, but have things changed! And there is yet one more woman crime writer to be reprinted by DSP this year, with more authors and books to follow, including the rest of Punshon's Bobby Owen series.

Also, at long last, I will be doing an introduction for Crippen & Landru, a project I'm very pleased to have come to fruition (more on this soon).

I also have some more projects with Coachwhip concerning American authors, so stay tuned!

Note: you will find out much more about all the authors mentioned above by searching their names on my blog.


  1. That's a lotta intros -- well done!

  2. One day I'll do a book of introduction--will have to get started on the introduction!

  3. That's really impressive. The genre is indebted to you

  4. Impressive indeed. There's no other word for it!

    And now I'm off to look up Annie Haynes. I thought I knew some forgotten authors, but she's new to me.

    1. Steve, Mysteryfile actually has a review (favorable) of Haynes' The Blue Diamond! I'll be sure to mention when I write the introduction that one.

  5. Well how do you like that! You're right. It was one of Al Hubin's reviews of books by obscure British authors, and I'm glad to see that he liked it. I'd totally forgotten about it. It was over six years ago, though. I am glad that her books are being reprinted. Good work on that!

    1. Yes, Mysteryfile was there first, as often is the case. I bought my first Annie Haynes back in 2000 or 2001 but never got around to writing about her until a few years ago. I'm pretty certain that Mysteryfile piece was the only review of an Annie Haynes mystery on the internet until 2013.

  6. Wow! What a feast and challenge. You've given me plenty to savor. Now, I must search for books. Thanks for a great posting.

    1. Glad to be of service. And I'm glad publishers are responding to people's interest in vintage mystery.

  7. Blimey Curt, you are so productive. You can be proud of all those intros and all the good work in promoting lost stories.