Wednesday 6 May 2009

Deadly Pleasures

I’ve received the latest issue (number 57, and I own every one of its predecessors) of George Easter’s very well-regarded fanzine, Deadly Pleasures. I haven’t contributed to this particular issue, but as ever there is a variety of good things, including a major features about that excellent writer Peter Robinson. I’ve been friendly with Peter since the early days of our careers, and his enormous success in recent years is richly deserved. On the occasions when reviewers have bracketed my books with his, I’ve been very pleased, and certainly we share a number of the same preoccupations as crime writers.

One of the pleasing features of DP is that the reviews are by no means bland – Larry Gandle, for instance, can be a pretty acerbic (but astute) commentator. The same is sometimes true of Marv Lachman, a hugely knowledgeable fan of traditional mysteries and the short story form. In his latest column, Marv highlights a very interesting book published a year or two back, collecting the detective fiction reviews of Charles Williams from 1930-1935. The book, edited by Jared Lobdell, contains a great deal of interesting material, and I share Marv’s enthusiasm for it. If you’re a serious fan of Golden Age mysteries, it’s packed with fascinating information.

George has long been a fan of British crime fiction, and as usual this issue contains generous coverage of UK authors and books – the contributors include Cath Staincliffe, Philip Scowcroft and Ali Karim. All in all, it’s a magazine that has established itself very firmly with fans, and for good reason. Its production is not a commercial enterprise, but a labour of love, undertaken by a man whose passion for the genre over the 17 years or so that I’ve known him has never dimmed. Long may George continue to share his deadly pleasures with the rest of us.


vegetableduck said...

The Charles Williams book is an excellent resource, as is the set of American crime critic dean Anthony Boucher's San Francisco Chronicle reviews. I've done a tremendous amount of researching in this area and would love to get more of these published, but of course there are copyright challenges. I try to get the picture across to people, though, in my (hopefully) forthcoming book.

Colin Watson suggests in Snobbery with Violence that detective novels were crowded into review ghettos and not treated with respect, but I tend to disagree with that. There were a number of acute and insightful crime fiction reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic in the Golden Age.

David Cranmer said...

I haven't read Deadly Pleasures. What's the best way to order it?