The Ginza Ghost and Oops

The Ginza Ghost is a collection of 12 short stories by the first major figure in the original honkaku movement in the 1940s, Keikichi Osaka. (the later renaissance in 1980s is technically called shin-honkaku = new-orthodox). All but 2 of the stories are impossible mysteries with rational solutions. Osaka’s work is characterised by a hauntingly eerie atmosphere and masterful illusions. He is currently enjoying a renaissance in his own country.  (Available late May or early June).

The Oops refers to the file labelled 2017_4_25 DID EQMM (Review of Death in the Dark) mistakenly containing a review for Paul Halter’s The Vampire Tree, which has now been corrected.

A three-review day

Mystery Scene magazine, which rarely reviews locked room novels, published a thoughtful review of Death in the Dark.

And EQMM published not one but two reviews, one of Death in the Dark (3 stars) and on of The Vampire Tree (4 stars)

For all three, see the Reviews and Accolades page. And thanks to Brian Skupin of MS and Steve Steinbock of EQMM. I look forward to seeing both of them at Malice Domestic in Washington, D.C. this weekend.


Death In the Dark — A Literary Event

Death in the Dark, by Stacey Bishop (George Antheil) has been, up until now, the Moby Dick of detective fiction: spotted briefly in London in 1930 and almost impossible to find in the 86 years thereafter. Collectors have spend large sums (GBP 1800 in 2006) to buy this rarity, which LRI will be offering for $24.99 in March. Is it worth it? In his Introduction, Martin Edwards, winner of multiple awards for his instant classic The Golden Age of Murder and President of the Detection Club, says: “The reappearance of Death in the Dark, truly a one-of-a-kind detective novel, is long overdue and will be widely welcomed.” Martin quotes Julian Symons, in Bloody Murder, calling it “an extraordinary performance,” and Bob Adey, in Locked Room Murders, declaring it to be “an extraordinarily complex work.”

This first U.S. edition also includes a fascinating Afterword by Mauro Piccinini, an expert on Antheil, explaining how the book was actually an act of revenge. Antheil, an American who knew Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and a host of other expatriates, had been the darling of avant-garde Europe and brought his best-known work Ballet Mechanique–which featured 16 pianos, an electric buzzer and an aircraft propeller–to Carnegie Hall for a concert which was a disaster. Ruined, he retreated to Italy, where he wrote Death in the Dark, in which he figuratively murdered the concert’s organiser and his entire family. He was helped in this endeavour by no less than three, repeat three, winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature! There is more: Hedy Lamarr, the famous Hollywood actress, makes a (fully clothed) appearance in another astonishing episode. I won’t spoil it, but suffice to say you can’t make this stuff up…

I’m pleased and flattered that Publishers Weekly not only gave it a starred review, 2016-1-2 PW Starred Review, but recognised that it was a sufficiently important literary event to warrant an interview:  2016-1-9 PW Interview


Hard Cheese is one of Top 10 Nordic Novels

Following its excellent review from Crime Fiction Lover in January 2016 and many other journals, Hard Cheese has just been named to:                                 

Congratulations to the author, Ulf Durling, and to the translator, Bertil Falk, who gave so generously of his time. Bertil has just published a critically acclaimed book on Feroze Gandhi, Indira’s husband:


Paul Halter’s “The Vampire Tree” named to PW Top Mysteries of 2016

Paul Halter’s The Vampire Tree is now available on Amazon TPB and Kindle formats. I am delighted to report that it was named to Publishers Weekly’s Top Mystery/Thriller list of 2016:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   A more detailed review is here:                             

This is LRI’s third appearance on the PW list, following Halter’s The Crimson Fog in 2013 and Ayatsuji’s The Decagon House Murders in 2015.

Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, as my grandmother used to say.

The Vampire Tree named in Best Books of 2016

Delighted to announce that, for the third time, Publisher’s Weekly has named one of LRI’s books in its Best Books of 201x, in the Mystery category.   This time it’s Paul Halter’s The Vampire Tree   You can read the full review on the Reviews page

Previously Paul’s The Crimson Fog had made the the list in 2013 and Yukito Ajatsuji’s The Decagon House Murders in 2015.

And, to fill in the missing year, The Derek Smith Omnibus appeared in the Washington Post’s Top Fiction Books of 2014.


“Moai Island Puzzle” in Washington Post Summer Read List

For the third year in a row,  teeny little LRI gets a review in the Washington Post alongside Penguin, Vintage, Pegasus and other major publishing houses. We must be doing something right!

Bodies from the Library 2016

The second conference organised by the British Library on Golden Age detective fiction was held on June 11, 2016. About 200 enthusiasts filled the cozy (so to speak) auditorium and were entertained for quite a full day (British Library 6_11_2016). All the presentations were relaxed and humorous and there was a very enjoyable atmosphere. An additional benefit was meeting people I had only corresponded with over the internet.

There was a lot of kidding about all the awards Martin Edwards’ has (deservedly) received for The Golden Age of Murder. Martin became president of The Detection Club recently and Taku Ashibe (seen below with moi ) was given a warm welcome as the representative of the Honkaku Mystery Writers of Japan, which has based itself on The Detection Club. Ashibe-san brought along a suitcase full of Japanese equivalents to all the books discussed throughout the day, an extremely generous gesture which was very well received.

A straw poll indicated interest in another conference in 2017 and I would encourage anyone  interested in the genre to attend

Taku Ashibe and JMP