Season’s Greetings

I wish all LRI readers all the best for the holiday season and thank you for your support (and your e-mails which are always welcome).

Let us end the year on an encouraging note, from the UK:

Is Golden Age Detection making a comeback? One swallow doesn’t make a summer (as they say in the UK–“swallow” as in the bird) but maybe people are finally tiring of plot-less drivel and social messaging disguised as detective fiction.

Maybe Michael Dirda’s enthusiastic review of the Derek Smith Omnibus in the Washington Post was a foretaste of things to come:

I pledge to do my part:

There will be a lot of interesting stuff by LRI in 2015. I’ll fill in the details as soon as all the agreements are firmly in place. My goal is at least six top-flight impossible crime novels in 2015.

Happy New Year!
John P.

Call for Help

I’m in the process of expanding the scope of my publications, still staying within the locked room/impossible crime sub-genre, but including past and present writers from many more countries. The aim would be to release 6 new publications a year (2 of which would be Halter works.)

To do that I need 4 more volunteer proofreaders. The way it works is that for each new title I send a draft (in English) to 4 proofreaders simultaneously, with a return date of 2 months later. They aren’t professionals: they do this for fun in their spare time and they tell me they love it. Unfortunately most of them can’t fit in more than 3 books a year. So to get to my goal of 6 books a year I need 4 more enthusiasts. There’s no payment involved, although you do get a copy of the final publication, signed if the author is still alive.

You don’t need any training: all you need is an eagle eye for spelling errors, missing periods, missing quotes, etc. If you’re interested, send me an e-mail at I have an incredible number of great stories and you could help bring them to market.

The Picture from the Past

Just returned from a month’s vacation on the other side of the world. Great while it lasted, but now back to work.

The Picture from the Past is now out in paperback and will be out in Kindle before the day is out, I hope. This is another very enjoyable Dr. Twist novel from the great Paul Halter.

Anyone looking for a signed and dedicated copy should contact me now on Demand has increased and you don’t want to miss out.

In Praise of Honkaku

The editor of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Janet Hutchings, flattered me by inviting me to write a blog on any subject. As I have had a lot of dealings with Shimada Soji recently, I decided to write a piece lamenting the attitude of most western critics (Publisher’s Weekly and Washington Post excepted) towards classic detection and contrasting that with its immense popularity in Japan (particularly the locked room variety) where it is called “honkaku.” Janet herself bemoans the fact that she gets almost no submissions from present American writers.

I think part of the reason that classic detection does not get the respect it deserves is that we insist on calling it “Golden Age Detection.” The vary name implies it’s all in the past; over and done with. The term “honkaku” (orthodox) describes the books themselves, not the period when they were once written, and it’s kind of punchy, which is why I like it.

Here’s the blog. It is preceded by a very flattering introduction; not altogether surprising since I pretty well wrote it 🙂

International Impossibilities

It’s always satisfying (and comforting) to have one’s efforts recognized, as with the Frankfurt Book Fair digital edition of Publisher’s Weekly, p 18.

It is my experience so far that, the more LRI gets known, the more treasures I stumble across. There is no shortage of great forgotten books: the only constraints are (a) how much time I can spend in a given year and (b) whether there are any rights issues.

Welcome to the new site

Well, the material is basically the same, but I’ve switched to a new format based on WordPress, which will theoretically allow more flexibility as I go along (and is, apparently much better suited to viewing on mobile devices.)

I’ve also added a second, shorter, domain name:, which will also bring you to this site ( was already taken.)

Astute observers will have noted the presence of a book not translated from the French: The Derek Smith Omnibus, which, incidentally,  got a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, followed by a rapturous review from the Washington Post:

This reflects a broadening scope of LRI’s mission: we shall be adding out-of-print locked room jewels by English authors as well as translations from other languages than French — for example Swedish– wherever we can negotiate a reasonable royalty deal.

More of this in more detail as we go along. Thank you for your patience.

The Tokyo Zodiac Murders: Update

LRI had been planning to re-publish Shimada Soji’s masterpiece in August, but there has been a complication regarding rights and it will not happen, at least for the time being. Further explanations will be forthcoming at the appropriate time, but I can assure readers it was not the result of any disagreement between the author and myself. Our relationship is very amicable and I hope to publish more of his works at a later date.