Thursday, 4 April 2013

Oleander Press and The Charing Cross Mystery

Oleander Press is a small but enterprising publisher which has launched a brand new imprint, "London Bound". The clue, of course, is in the title - this is a series of London-based books, and they are vintage crime novels. I was delighted to receive through the post the first of them today. This is The Charing Cross Mystery by J.S. Fletcher, a prolific and once very successful author who is now pretty much neglected.

The book is very well produced, with striking jacket artwork, and I'm looking forward to reading it. Looking forward, also, to the appearance of further titles in the series. At present we are promised The Doctor of Pimlico by that larger-than-life character William Le Queux, due later this month, and another book of which I have very high hopes.

This is a very rare Golden Age book, one I've never seen, Fatality in Fleet Street. The author was Christopher St John Sprigg, who was a truly fascinating man. He wrote six detective novels, all now highly sought after, but was better known for his poetry, which he wrote under the name Christopher Caudwell. He became a Marxist and joined the International Brigades who were fighting in the Spanish Civil War. He was killed while manning a machine gun at the battle of Jamara. He was just 29 years old.

Well, that's a treat in store for me and I'm sure for many other fans of Golden Age fiction. It's such a good thing that publishers like Oleander are making books like this available again at long last. Meanwhile, it'll be interesting to see how The Charing Cross Mystery shapes up.


J F Norris said...

I wrote a post about Oleander Press last month and reviewed The Charing Cross Mystery here.

I wasn't wowed by the book. It's typical for a crime thriller of the era. Jam packed with action and incident. Like you I'm more eager to read the Sprigg book. I ordered my copy as soon as I heard about it being reprinted.

Anonymous said...

Martin - It's always such good news when a publisher decides to make available some of the fine vintage novels out there. And this is a case in point of an author whose work ought to get readership.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, John. That looks like a fair and balanced review to me, and I guess I may come to similar conclusions about J.S.F.
Margot, that's right. It's one of the great boons of digital publishing, definitely something we can be thankful for.