Thursday, 21 November 2013
Murder in Cornwall and the Lake District
I'm able to share some exciting news - well, exciting for me and, I hope, some of the Golden Age fans among you. In the new year, the British Library will be publishing two more rare Golden Age novels, and each book will include a new introduction, written by me. The novels are both written by John Bude, and were his first two published detective stories.
John who? Well, until a couple of years ago, I'd never heard of John Bude either. Then I visited a friend who has a wonderful collection of Golden Age books,and he told me that he thought Bude was very under-rated. He was even kind enough to give me a copy of one of Bude's later books, Death in Ambush. Before long, I discovered that Bude was actually a member of the small group that founded the Crime Writers' Association, exactly sixty years ago. But he died about four years later and his reputation soon died too.
A pity,because my friend is right - Bude writes both readably and entertainingly. His work may not have been stunning enough to belong with the greats, but there is a smoothness and accomplishment about even his first mystery, The Cornish Coast Murder, which you don't find in many debut mysteries. I was, naturally, fascinated to discover that his second book was set in the Lake District, and I felt he captured the atmosphere of the area rather more interestingly than the more acclaimed Newton Gayle, whose Sinister Crag I discussed here a while back.
The British Library has, I think, done a very good job with the artwork for the covers, and I'm really pleased to be associated with these revivals. Bude's two long lost novels are well worth reading - I wouldn't describe either as a complex whodunit, but the setting and characterisation is definitely a cut above what most of his contemporaries managed. And of course I hope that more Golden Age reprints will follow before long.