Whilst I was researching The Golden Age of Murder, I corresponded with David Ian Chapman, who had been introduced to me by a mutual friend as someone very expert in the work of R. Austin Freeman, a crime writer admired by Dorothy L. Sayers, T.S. Eliot, and Raymond Chandler (and many others, but that's not a bad trio to start with...)
I've never met David, but the information he supplied me was very helpful. This included fascinating insight into Freeman's coded journal, extracts from which David allowed me to publish in the book. Our hope was that someone would come along and help to decipher it. This hasn't happened as yet - Freeman's code is tricky! But I live in hope.
Anyway, it's only recently that I've acquired a copy, inscribed by David, of his bibliography of Freeman and also his biography of another author he's very interested in, William Le Queux. Le Queux was a fascinating character and I am planning to devote a separate blog post to David's very enjoyable study of his extraordinary life.
In the meantime, I've enjoyed the Freeman book, because I've collected a number of the author's novels and David discusses them, and their background, in fascinating depth. He also explains how he came to collect Freeman's work, and if you fancy collecting a crime writer, what he has to say will be of special interest. I'm in regular correspondence with a number of collectors in different parts of the world and my impression is that interest in the older detective stories is growing.
The lovely illustrations in Collecting Richard Austin Freeman, some of them in full colour, are in themselves a delight. If you're interested in Austin Freeman, do take a look at David's book. It was published two years ago by Highfield Press.