Today I'd like to talk about some of the excellent Golden Age-related publications available from Harper Collins. We're hoping that people with GA fans in their lives will consider giving them copies of The Golden Age of Murder as Christmas presents, naturally! And if there's any cash left in the kitty, trust me, there are plenty of other options. Good ones, too...
Agatha Christie's Complete Secret Notebooks by John Curran is among them. I should say that this is not a brand new book, given that it combines John's two earlier volumes about Christie's journals, the virtues of which I've extolled on this blog before now. I find the insights into Christie's approach to her craft fascinating. John has also taken the opportunity to amend and update the text and commentary. I strongly suspect that John, like me,is one of those authors who is always keen to revise and improve what he has written. It's an endless task, and you have to draw a line somewhere, but he (like me) has benefited from our editor's admirable willingness to allow improvements to be made. (When The Golden Age of Murder appears in paperback in the UK next year, it too will incorporate some revisions, reflecting in particular new information that has come to light).
Harper Collins' Detective Story Club reprint series continues to yield some interesting titles. Freeman Wills Crofts' first (and some say, his best) book, The Cask, came out recently, and Hugh Conway's Darker Days has been issued in a Christmassy cover (you can bet that Waterstones and other bookshops will be overflowing with Yuletide-themed book covers in the coming weeks as everyone tries to emulate the Mystery in White effect!) In the new year, incidentally, Anthony Berkeley will feature in this series, notably with that early serial killer story The Silk Stockings Murders.
Harper Collins have also revived the Crime Club imprint, which I think is good news, and titles include Lord Dunsany's short story collection Two Bottles of Relish. The title story is an acknowledged classic, and although Dunsany never surpassed it, his imaginative story-telling doesn't deserve the neglect into which it has fallen.