Miraculous Mysteries, a British Library publication

The British Library Crime Classics have acquired an excellent reputation in the last couple of years with a beautifully produced series of Golden Age novels and anthologies, for which the indefatigable Martin Edwards (the current President of the U.K.’s Detection Club) is the principal consultant/editor. Their latest publication is Miraculous Mysteries, an anthology of sixteen impossible crime/locked room short stories by such luminaries as Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham alongside hidden gems by less familiar writers, spanning over half a century.  There couldn’t be a better introduction to the genre.

I owe my own debt of gratitude to Martin (a top-rate mystery writer himself and the author of the multiple award-winning The Golden Age of Murder about the aforementioned Detective Club). When he learned that I had unearthed the rights to Death in the Dark, the rarest locked room mystery of them all, he graciously agreed to write the Introduction and gave his enthusiastic support during its turbulent publication (more of that another time). He is indeed a gentleman and a scholar.

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).  http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-543057-42-3

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:                                           www.crimefictionlovers.com/2016/12/top-10-nordic-noir-novels-of-2016

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: http://www.amazon.in/Feroze-Gandhi-Forgotten-Bertil-Falk/dp/9351941760


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:                                                                                              http://best-books.publishersweekly.com/pw/best-books/2016/mystery#book/book-10.                                                                                                                                               A more detailed review is here:                                       http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-539139-35-5

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    http://best-books.publishersweekly.com/pw/best-books/2016/mystery#book/book-10   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!