Monday, 16 January 2017

Death in the Dark

I'm delighted to bring marvellous news for locked room mystery fans. Locked Room International will, at the start of March, be publishing Death in the Dark by Stacey Bishop. This novel, set in New York City, was originally published in 1930 as one of pair of books issue experimentally by Faber with pictorial boards and no dust jacket. It has subsequently become one of the most sought-after rarities among crime novels.

Prior to this edition, no English language reprint has ever appeared. I'm sure the arrival on the market of a nicely produced and very affordable copy will be greeted by collectors with a good deal of pleasure. John Pugmire of LRI deserves great credit for bringing the book back to life - and he's already been rewarded by a starred review in Publishers' Weekly.

I've written an introduction to this new edition, and there's also a fascinating Afterword written by the author's nephew and executor. Mystery has, suitably enough, long surrounded this book. Julian Symons talked about it in Bloody Murder, and suggested that there was in fact another Stacey Bishop book out there somewhere. Plenty of people, including me, have tried to track it down, but it now seems clear that this novel was a one-off.

And what a one-off! Symons, who revealed that the Bishop pen-name concealed the identity of a controversial composer called George Antheil, called it "an extraordinary performance". Bob Adey said it was "an extraordinarily complex work". As John said when interviewed by Publishers' Weekly, this is "probably the only literary work of any kind in history to have had three Nobel Prize winners involved in its creation." Does that whet your appetite? I thought it might....




11 comments:

Art Taylor said...

Appetite whetted indeed!

Jonathan said...

Thanks for the heads up Martin, and really glad you were able to write an introduction for this edition. I'll definitely be looking out for it! Do you know if LRI will be releasing it as an ebook as well - or only as a paperback?

seana graham said...

Exciting!

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Art. Jonathan, I think they usually do ebook editions..

bklynharuspex said...

It's crazy that George Antheil should have written a mystery novel, but then again, why not? Looking forward to it.

Cathy Ace said...

Ohhh....sounds excellent :-)

Vicki Goldie, Reader Development Librarian said...

Wow can't wait what a teaser!

J F Norris said...

Very exciting! Thanks for publicizing this reissue of a real rarity. I've been itching to read Antheil's mystery novel for a long, long time. Copies almost impossible to find and those available for sale are priced in the stratosphere as far as I'm concerned. This ought to be the crowning achievement in John Pugmire's reprint enterprise.

Clothes In Books said...

Now this does sound intriguing. Will be looking out for it.

csaper said...

My biography of Robert Carlton Brown -- one of the most successful mystery writers in the first decade of the 20th century (and later an avant-garde publisher and poet (1929-1932) -- living off his success with publishing pulp fiction (1908-1916) and other publishing enterprises discusses George Antheil as Brown's friend -- and Brown was sharing his secrets -- so, I'm trying to find if Antheil (and his other collaborators) were inspired by Brown's work (and if there are any mentions).

And, I have re-published 4 of Brown's experimental books ... and would like to re-publish his mysteries too. http://rovingeyepress.com

SO .... I am very eager to get your new edition of the mystery novel by Stacey Bishop ... let us know when and where to buy it.

https://www.amazon.com/Amazing-Adventures-Bob-Brown-Real-Life/dp/0823271463
[used ~$10 and new ~$24] 70+ illustrations.

Martin Edwards said...

Very interesting, thanks. Keep an eye on the Locked Room International website for details of how and when to buy this remarkable book.