Saturday 11 August 2018

The Story of Classic Crime in paperback

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books has just been published in paperback, another stage in the story of a book which has itself become a personal favourite of mine. Like The Golden Age of Murder, it's been a very lucky book for me. What started out as an idea to write a straightforward sort of companion to the British Library's Crime Classics series turned into something rather more ambitious.

It's in the nature of writing that, when you get to work, you find that you go in directions not necessarily contemplated when you first drew up a synopsis for a publisher, or first had your bright idea to create something new. With this book, I found myself telling a story of the evolution of the genre in the first half of the last century, a period of remarkable development. The books I chose (and in my enthusiasm, I did sneak over the 100 mark!) told part of that story, but so did the detailed intros to each of the chapters, which sought to set individual titles in context.

With all books, you never really know how the majority of people are going to react until it's too late. Will they "get" what you're trying to do? It's far from certain. This time, though, the reaction has been hugely gratifying. Only the other day, there was a wonderful review on the Random Jottings blog which truly delighted me. "Prepare to be beguiled" is a lovely phrase to link to a work of non-fiction...

The icing on the cake is that this year has seen the book nominated for five awards, three in the US (Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity) and two in the UK (Gold Dagger for non-fiction and HRF Keating). This sort of thing doesn't happen very often in an author's life, if at all, and it's another reason why it's been such a lucky book. I'm hoping, too, that the paperback edition will find a further readership. And perhaps that some of those who enjoy the book will be tempted to see what I've made of the Golden Age thriller in Gallows Court!

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Thanks Martin for these works examining the Golden Age novel - and I'm definitely looking forward to Gallows Court! 😊