The British Library is a wonderful institution, but it's only in recent times that I've found any time at all even to begin to explore its treasures. I really enjoyed its exhibition earlier this year about the history of crime fiction, and since then I've been keeping an eye on their publication list.
One venture that fascinates me is their decision to publish some classic crime titles. The Notting Hill Mystery, first published as an eight part serial in 1862-3 is generally regarded as the first full-length detective novel (Poe, of course, had written detective short stories a couple of decades earlier) and the British Library's nicely produced edition boasts an intro by Mike Ashley. I've never actually met Mike, but I've contributed numerous short stories to anthologies he's edited. He's not only a very good editor but also extremely knowledgeable about the history of crime fiction.
The Female Detective by Andrew Forrester introduces the first female detective, and the Library's edition includes not only another intro by Mike Ashley but also a short preface by Alexander McCall Smith. Mike again introduces Revelations of a Lady Detective, by Williams Stephen Hayward.
More interesting titles are in the pipeline. I'm especially intrigued by The Santa Klaus Murder, a Golden Age mystery by Mavis Doriel Hay, which first appeared in 1936. I must admit I'd never heard of either book or author, and look forward to its arrival on the shelves in November. I very much hope that the British Library will continue to make available rare novels of this kind, and I do like to think that this is yet another illustration of an upsurge of interest in the once-maligned detective puzzles of the Golden Age. Perhaps their time has come again!.