Patti Abbott’s ‘Forgotten’ series focuses this week on short stories. I’ve decided to highlight two obscure but marvellous stories by unknown authors which I’d never heard of until they were exhumed by Jack Adrian in his brilliant anthology Detective Stories from the Strand Magazine. This collection was published in 1991 and benefited from an introduction by the great Julian Symons. Adrian, who is clearly very knowledgeable about the genre, also credited the support of his editor at OUP, Michael Cox, whose untimely death last week I noted on Saturday.
In ‘Inquest’ by Loel Yeo, a chance meeting on a train with a man last seen two years earlier leads to revelations about an inquest and its aftermath. Nobody seems to know anything about Yeo – Symons thought the name ‘surely a pseudonym?’ Certainly, this is a very good story indeed.
‘By Kind Permission of the Murdered Man’ by Hylton Cleaver is equally impressive, a sort of variation on the old ‘perfect crime’ theme. I’d never heard of Cleaver either, but according to Adrian, an industrious and impressive researcher, he wrote mainly boys’ fiction, with a few well-crafted crime stories for adults on the side.
Yeo’s story first appeared in the magazine in 1932; Cleaver’s came out two years later. But despite their age, these stories definitely deserve to be remembered, as do the rest of the entries in Adrian’s book.