Saturday 21 November 2009

Anticipating Diana Devon

I’ve never had any dealings with the publishers Robert Hale, but I am full of admiration for the way in which they have achieved the publication of all the previously uncollected short stories by that wonderful writer Michael Gilbert.

The latest book of Gilbert stories has just landed on my doorstep, courtesy of Tangled Web UK, for whom I shall be reviewing the collection. It’s called The Murder of Diana Devon and Other Mysteries, and it’s been edited by John Cooper (co-author of a wonderful book about collecting detective fiction which I’d love to see reissued and brought up to date.)

Cooper says in his introduction that Gilbert ‘was one of the greatest crime writers to emerge after World War II’. He was awarded the CWA’s Cartier Diamond Dagger and both the Mystery Writers of America and the Swedish Academy of Detection honoured him as a Grand Master. He published 30 novels and no fewer than 185 short stories, all of which have now been gathered together in 14 volumes.

Gilbert was a fluent and varied writer, and although Smallbone Deceased is widely regarded as his masterpiece, many of his other novels can still be read with enormous pleasure. I’ve mentioned some of them on this blog over the last couple of years. He was equally adept at the short form, and I’m anticipating The Murder of Diana Devon with a great deal of pleasure.


Nik Morton said...

I'm too fond of Michael Gilbert's stories. As for Robert Hale, they don't pay well but they're an author-friendly publisher and are exceptionally fast in responding to submissions - often by return of post! No waiting six months for any kind of decision; and although they require the MS in hardcopy, they will respond via email, which makes the response time even faster. Proofs can be sent out via email pdf, too, which is helpful where I'm concerned, living in Spain.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I'm so short on time now that short stories are enormously appealing to me. I'll have to find this if/when it debuts here in the states. Or find an old collection. Thanks, Martin.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Anonymous said...

Martin - Thanks for letting us know about this collection. I hadn't known about its release, but I've very much looking forward to reading what you think of it. Gilbert was, indeed, a great writer, and it'll be interesting to see what this collection of stories is like.

Martin Edwards said...

Nik, thanks for this insight into Robert Hale. I've had a look at the Hale blog to which you and others contribute - very interesting.
Margot and Elizabeth - MG was a very smooth writer, and even his slightest stories are agreeable to read, so I have high hopes of this book.