The British Library has just issued its catalogue for the first half of next year, and it's full of good things. Including, naturally, half a dozen Crime Classics that will offer a wide variety of delights for fans of good mystery fiction. For many people, I suspect the stand-out title will be The Woman in the Wardrobe by Peter Shaffer. This splendid impossible crime story was the work of a major writer in the making. Shaffer wrote it in his early twenties and I've been trying to get it back in print for years. This has not been easy to achieve, but I'm glad that a new generation of readers will have a chance to enjoy it at last.
John Dickson Carr returns, with another Henri Bencolin story, the splendidly atmospheric Castle Skull, set in the Rhineland. We're also back in continental Europe with Crossed Skis, by Carol Carnac. Carnac was a pen-name of Carol Rivett, better known as E.C.R. Lorac, and this is a very enjoyable Alpine mystery indeed - even if, like me, you wouldn't want to be caught dead on a pair of skis.
I'm delighted that Mary Kelly's The Spoilt Kill is included in the list. This is the book that won her the CWA Gold Dagger when she was still in her early thirties - perhaps there have been younger winners since then, but not many, that's for sure. I read the novel many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it when rereading it prior to writing my intro for this edition. I've also benefited from the insights of the author's husband, Denis, who has been enormously helpful.
By popular demand, there's another John Bude book - in fact, a volume which contains two rare Bude novels, Death in White Pyjamas and an impossible crime story, Death Knows No Calendar. And finally there is another anthology which I've put together. Settling Scores is a collection of sporting mysteries; each story is by a different author, and each features a different sport.