As a year draws to a close, it's good to look back and I enjoyed compiling my retrospective of 2021 the other day. But now it's a new year, and time to look forward. Many things remain uncertain, but I'm full of hope and optimism. All being well, it promises to be a bumper year. And for those making new year resolutions about writing that first crime novel, Dea of Fiction Feedback and I hope that they will be tempted by the Crafting Crime online course!
My new Rachel Savernake novel comes out in September. This latest example of Golden Age Gothic is called Blackstone Fell, and I'll talk more about it in due course. But I guess the main event so far as some readers are concerned will be the publication in May by HarperCollins of The Life of Crime, my history of the mystery genre. Suffice to say that it's a very substantial book, and it ranges far and wide. So there's quite a lot about Golden Age writing (of course) but also a good deal about such diverse subjects as Japanese mystery fiction, Vidocq and his followers, William Lindsay Gresham, and Ian Fleming. I've no idea how the book will be received, but I'm excited about the prospect of seeing it in print at last, because I've been thinking about the material for many a long year and actively writing it for the past five or six.
There will be overseas editions of several of my books in a number of countries, including China, Italy, and (this one has been delayed for a while, but may finally emerge in 2022) Bulgaria. One to mention specifically, because it involves an unexpected title change, is the US edition of The Crooked Shore. This will appear in the summer as The Girl They All Forgot. I'm very pleased that Poisoned Pen and Sourcebooks, the publishers, are treating this as a potential breakthrough title for me in the States - hence the very different style of cover artwork.
My first anthology of the year will be Music of the Night, a collection of brand new stories by members of the CWA; my own contribution is a piece called 'The Crazy Cries of Love'. In the spring, the British Library are publishing an anthology of classic Scottish crime stories, The Edinburgh Mystery, and the paperback edition of Howdunit will appear in the summer. There might be one more anthology later in the year, but that is uncertain. As regards the BL Crime Classics, I've already penned intros to quite a number of the titles for 2022, including books by Christianna Brand, Anthony Berkeley, ECR Lorac, and John Dickson Carr. There will be a few more intros of other books, mainly resulting from approaches by authors whose work I enjoy or their publishers.
Short stories of mine will appear in various other publications. My Cornell Woolrich tribute story, 'The Woman Who Never Was', is slated to appear in an antho edited by Maxim Jakubowski, a book that should be of great interest to fellow Woolrich fans. 'No Peace for the Wicked' is due to feature in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. I've written another couple of stories for American anthologies that are yet to be publicly announced, including a Golden Age homage, 'The Outsider', which was a lot of fun to write and has a Christie-esque setting.
Now for something almost completely different - a Golden Age Mystery Map of Britain! I signed a contract recently to produce the text for this venture and I was working on it in December - another fun thing to do. More details soon. At present I'm thinking about an even more unlikely project (definitely ambitious) as well; whether anything will come of it, however, remains to be seen. Suffice to say it involves both Golden Age detective fiction and sci-fi...
At present, I'm booked to appear at numerous festivals, in England, in Wales, and in Scotland and I'm really looking forward to getting around a bit more. I'm also very much hoping to make it to Bouchercon, although right now, it's hard to look too far into the future. As for the blog, I expect it to keep rolling on as before; I've found your comments and messages a continuing source of great encouragement. I hope to have opportunities to meet more of my readers in Britain and elsewhere during 2022, but in the meantime may I simply wish you all a very happy new year.