Wednesday 15 May 2024

An E.C.R. Lorac exhibition


Not so long ago, the name of E.C.R. Lorac was unknown to most present day crime fans. Lorac, whose real name was Carol Rivett, and who also wrote prolifically as Carol Carnac, slipped into literary obscurity not long after her death in 1958. That's the way it was for almost all authors. Once a book was out of print, that was it. You were history. But things have changed, and I'm delighted that Bolton-le-Sands Library in Lancashire, close to Aughton where Lorac lived in her later years, is currently holding an exhibition dedicated to the woman and her work.

I find this really rather exciting, even if I have to pinch myself to believe it's actually happening. I was introduced to Lorac by my parents, who were fascinated by the Lunesdale books - my grandmother lived in Morecambe, not far away, for many years and that was the first place I ever went to on holiday. I used to pick up second hand Loracs for my parents whenever I saw them. As a result they have finally come back to me, although since she was so prolific, there are quite a few I haven't read (and quite a few I've never seen - some titles are very scarce indeed).

My attempts to bring Lorac back into public view have been greatly aided by Lena Whiteley and her family, who still live in the area. Lena knew Lorac when she was young and really liked her. Thanks to their kindness and enthusiasm, I've explored the area with greater understanding. 

I don't know precise figures, but I believe that the Lorac books are the most popular in the entire British Library Crime Classics series these days. We even managed to publish the hitherto unpublished Two-Way Murder, which was a great joy.  And as a result a large number of people around the world are getting acquainted with a writer whom my parents really enjoyed writing. Very satisfying. And there are more Loracs to come...


marmee said...

good news about more e c r loracs!! At present my favourite is The theft of the iron dogs. Got to say, Crossed skis by her Carol Carnac incarnation comes a close second!

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Marmee. Those are definitely two good ones!