I'm thrilled that, for the first time, the British Library is going to include in its Crime Classics series a book that has never before been published. This is Two-Way Murder by E.C.R. Lorac, an author who enjoyed success in her lifetime and is now finding a new and appreciative readership among fans of the Crime Classics who have responded very positively to books like Bats in the Belfry, Murder by Matchlight, and most recently Checkmate to Murder.
For me, this represents the culmination of a long personal journey. Those of you with excellent memories (including Fiona Birchall, who kindly pointed this out the other day) may recall that I spoke about the unpublished manuscript long, long ago. In September 2009, to be exact, I wrote a blog post referring to the leading bookseller James M. Pickard, who had obtained the manuscript. At the time I yearned for the book to be made more widely available, but I didn't know how this could best be done.
A great deal has happened during the past eleven years, and among the many wonderful developments has been the creation of the Crime Classics series. I have been urging the British Library for several years to consider publishing Two-Way Murder, and thanks to James Pickard's generosity we had the chance to study the manuscript some considerable time ago.
But progressing these projects can be complicated and sometimes it all takes much longer than you might expect to bring a plan to fruition. So it has proved with Two-Way Murder. But I'm absolutely delighted that the British Library is going ahead - this seems to me to be a splendid project for our national library to undertake, giving life to a story that never saw the light of day during its author's lifetime, or for more than sixty years since. Truly gratifying.
As a devoted fan of Lorac's work, I am deeply grateful that this came to fruition.
What year was this written?
Dean, me too! It's really exciting.
Ted, we don't know, though my guess is that it was very close to the end of her life. I'll be reviewing the manuscript again shortly to see if I can pick up any more clues.
Thanks Martin for the heads-up - I’m looking forward to the novel coming out! Is there a provisional date when BL is releasing it?
Thanks Martin for the heads-up. :) Has British Library set a provisional date as to when the novel will be released?
I'll certainly be pre-ordering this when the publication date approaches. Great news, and let's hope for more reprints of her work.
Dear Martin, this is a fantastic news! I read only "Murder in the Mill-Race" by Lorac, because it's her only title translated into Italian, but I'll keep an eye on this even if it's in English.
Thanks for these comments. My understanding is that Two-Way Murder is to be published in March. Amazon says 10 March though dates can fluctuate.
Not to drop a fly in the soup, but there is usually a good reason why books, by established writers, did not get published... Having said that, I love E. C. Lorac, and am ordering my copy NOW, in the middle of Fire In The THATCH as I am, along with a diverse batch of other British Crime Library Classics, and the usual Christies according to the season (Fall and falling leaves means every Tommy & Tuppence book, with They Came To Baghdad and Peril At End House for good measure). Never could abide, nor learn or discipline myself to read only one book at the time. Chandler says the same, in one of his later letters. In other words: Great Minds Think Alike.
Dear Raymond West, please say hello to your aunt from me,
You're quite right, Arfinn, and that was very much in my mind when I read the story, quite a few years ago. I was pleasantly surprised and I felt it surpassed a number of novels that Lorac/Carnac did publish. I'm about to read it again....
Tremendous news Martin - I look forward to reading it (assuming that there will be an American edition...IhopeIhopeIhope...
Excellent news, Martin. I look forward to reading it...assuming that it makes it across the Atlantic... :-0
Hello, Les. I'm pretty confident that it should be available in the US, because presumably as a hitherto unpublished book, there would be none of the usual rights complexities.
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