Monday, 13 April 2015
More Crime Classics from the British Library
The British Library has just issued its catalogue for the second half of 2015, and it features half a dozen new Crime Classics,together with two Classic Thrillers. One of these books is an anthology that I've compiled, and I've contributed introductions to the other seven titles,so I cannot pretend to be impartial. That said, I'm very optimistic that fans of traditional mysteries and thrillers will find that at least one or two titles, if not more, whet their appetite.
Of the novels, I'd like to highlight Death of an Airman, which I've blogged about previously, and The Z Murders, by J. Jefferson Farjeon. They are both fascinatingly original. The Farjeon book is an early example of the serial killer mystery that I found extremely gripping. There are also two books written by Alan Melville in his younger days; he later become a well-known TV personality and humorist. His detective stories are light and witty, and have long been neglected.
Silent Nights is an anthology of Christmas mystery stories, the third of five collections that the British Library has commissioned me to compile. As usual, my aim has been to bring together a range of stories that show the very different ways in which inventive crime writers may tackle a particular theme. The contributors include Dorothy L. Sayers, but there are a couple of exceptionally obscure stories, including one by Farjeon that was kindly unearthed for me by Golden Age expert Monte Herridge when it emerged that not even the British Library had a copy. I've written an intro to the book, and also a piece preceding each story; my aim, however, has been to try to avoid repeating myself, so that there are items of fresh information even in relation to authors whom (as with Farjeon) have featured previously in the Crime Classics series.
Crime fans will be heartened to know that there's more to come from the British Library. Much,much more. This past week-end, I put the finishing touches to the fifth Classic Crimes anthology, and also completed two intros for excellent thrillers, as well as working on intros for two more rare and accomplished novels of psychological crime from the Thirties. And I gather that a deal may be in the offing that, if concluded, may lead to the publication of one of my all-time favourites. Can't wait...