Wednesday 25 March 2009
The Minerva Club and others
I’ve subscribed to Crippen and Landru’s books for several years. I’m especially a fan of their ‘lost classics’, and the latest to appear is The Minerva Club, by Victor Canning, edited by John Higgins.
As John Higgins says, Canning (1911-1986) ‘has fallen out of fashion and largely out of print but was in his heyday a hugely versatile and successful writer’. Among many other achievements, he wrote the book which Hitchcock turned into that enjoyable movie Family Plot. When I was young, my father (a fan of the thriller, more than the classic whodunit) read a number of Canning’s novels, but I never really got into them, and I wasn’t aware of him as a writer of short stories at all.
This collection gathers three distinct series of stories. The Minerva Club is comprised of criminals, and the Department of Patterns is a French police agency. There are also a dozen stories featuring ‘Dr Kong’. This looks like another excellent set of ‘finds’ and I’ve already starting dipping into it.
The same publishers have also just produced A Little Intelligence, short mysteries by two writers better known for their sci-fi, Randall Garrett and Robert Silverberg. Silverberg himself contributes an excellent and nostalgic introduction.