Subscribe to the Podcast

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    About Comments

    • Comments are welcome...but...

      Please carry on all conversations without shouting, excessive ranting, or crudity. Profanity and personal attacks will not be tolerated. I am delighted to have you in my house - well, on my blog, anyway - and look forward to discussions. But please remember that we are all trying to carry on a civilized discussion. Your views are valuable. Please treat them that way. Thank you.

    Mystery Publishers

    • Academy Chicago Publishers
      An imprint of the Chicago Review Press. Features a number of interesting authors, most long out of print, plus some other odds and ends, including some horror stories by Conan Doyle.
    • Crippen & Landru
      Crippen & Landru publish mystery short story collections. Of particular interest is what they call "Lost Classics," a series of anthologies of mostly uncollected stories by authors who might be enjoyed by a new generation of readers.
    • Dean Street Press
      This small British publisher has a great many classic crime books in its much broader catalog. They are bringing back many Golden Age classics by authors who deserve another chance at a new audience.
    • Felony & Mayhem
      This publisher specializes in classic mysteries, broadly defined, including newer mysteries that adhere to classic standards. They have just overhauled their website to make it much more informative and user-friendly.
    • Locked Room International
      A small press, specializing in very good English-language translations of (so far) mostly-French authors of locked room and impossible crime stories. They publish in Print-On-Demand and electronic editions.
    • Merion Press
      The Merion Press is an independent publisher of out-of-print works that were originally published over 75 years ago, but are enduring even today.
      The brainchild of editor/anthologist/author/bookstore-owner Otto Penzler, the Mysterious Press has recently returned to life and now works with Open Road Media as an electronic book publisher. It is already republishing the work of a lot of classic authors, with more books on the way.
    • Oconee Spirit Press
      A small, independent publisher committed to publishing "lively fiction, and provocative non-fiction." Most of their list covers early works by established authors writing traditional mysteries, such as Carolyn Hart and Margaret Maron.
    • Oleander Press
      This small eclectic British publisher has begun publishing a series of classic British mystery novels, primarily from the Golden Age. The series is grouped into a section of their catalogue named "London Bound," as the books are set in London.
    • Ostara Publishing
      "Ostara Publishing re-issues titles that have unjustifiably become unavailable either through the ravages of time or the forces of publishing economics. We specialise in Crime and Thriller fiction titles and our range goes from the1920s through to the 21st century. We publish thematically and currently have six series available. All our titles are published in a 'trade paperback' format and printed to order."
    • Poisoned Pen Press
      Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Poisoned Pen Press publishes a fairly wide variety of mysteries. Some are reprints; many are new, by newer authors. Their website has a great deal of information about their books and authors.

    Search Classic Mysteries

    • Search This Site via Google Search


    Amazon invitation

    • Link to Amazon
      Classic Mysteries is an Associate. If you're going to buy something from Amazon, please use this link to reach their site. I appreciate it!
    Blog powered by Typepad

    « "The Case of the Constant Suicides" | Main | Recommending More Carr Books »

    March 04, 2011


    Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


    Thanks for posting this, Les. I read the essay and I tend to agree that some worthwhile Golden Age authors have been overlooked. I do remember reading Freeman Wills Croft many years ago, I enjoyed those books. And I may have read one other author mentioned in the essay. Austin Freeman, maybe. But these are not books that transformed the genre in any way for me. In other words, these don't sound like books that would give me what I am looking for when I read a book from that era.

    I feel some resentment in Evans' criticism of the very idea that four women (I've never read Allingham or if I did, not enough to make her a favorite)are held in such high esteem today, while lessor known male authors are languishing unread and forgotten. Sometimes history doesn't play fair. And once in a while (not often), women will take precedence over men. Them's the breaks.

    If male writers of the time were writing books as good as Christie or the other Crime Queens, don't you think they would have been remembered and held in as high esteem? There's something in Christie, especially, that causes her work to be loved and valued even after all these years. As far as popularity goes, the only male I can compare her to is, of course, Arthur Conan Doyle, and he was not exactly a Golden Ager.

    If all these men that Evans writes about were THAT good, the work might not have gone out of print. If they had created characters and situations which readers had wanted to read over and over again, visit over and over again, then their work would still be read today.

    And another thing: if the work these men were doing was so influential - where's the effect of their influence? Where are their heirs?

    Les Blatt

    You raise several points, Yvette. First, I think what Evans is saying is that it is wrong to define the Golden Age EXCLUSIVELY in terms of those four writers. I think readers of this site know that I have nothing but admiration for all four of the queens. (By the way, try Allingham's "Flowers for the Judge," a beautifully written "impossible crime" story with an absolutely perfect ending.) But they were not the only writers. As Evans said, many of the "deposed kings" were MORE popular at the time than the queens.

    As for influence, consider, for example, R. Austin Freeman. He not only wrote the Dr. Thorndyke books, which really attempted to bring modern science to bear on criminal cases long before forensic science was more than a rudimentary idea. He also created the "inverted detective" story, in which the reader knows the criminal at the outset - often watches the crime being committed - and then watches the detective investigate and build his/her case. Successors? Ever watch "Colombo"? Those are all inverted detective stories - again, a genre created by Freeman.

    Even the queens were influenced by these other writers. Remember the Sayers book (I can't think of the title offhand) which hinges on rail timetables? That's a Freeman Wills Crofts specialty.

    Am I saying they were better than the queens? No. But I reread many of them today, with great enjoyment (particularly since I can rarely remember their outcomes). And I am frustrated that I have only one John Rhode book in my collection - and that one a collaboration with John Dickson Carr - when the author wrote more than a hundred books. I have no Henry Wade, no G. D. H. Cole. And their books remain generally scarce. That's what Evans is complaining about - and I second the complaint. It seems to me, in an era of "print-on-demand" technology and e-books, that there is no really good reason why all these authors should not be available!


    Well, maybe Print-On-Demand will catch up, Les. Anything is possible. I would love to have access to more Dickson Carr books, for sure. And the Hildegarde Withers books. Some of the authors mentioned by Evans I am not at all familiar with, but if I ran across them, I'd take a look. The problem as you and Evans state it is, of course, that no one is printing these Golden Age male authors. There's no demand and there should be, I get that. Maybe it's just the tone of Evans' piece that I found a bit strident.

    Maybe FELONY AND MAYHEM Publishers could be induced to do something. They have a pretty nice list of older authors now coming into print.

    The comments to this entry are closed.

    Disclosure: Amazon Associates

    • As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
      That means that if you order anything from Amazon through a link from my site I get a small commission. As a result, I'd consider it a favor if you would consider making your purchases through my links. As always, though, if you have a local mystery book store, I encourage you to use them as your first choice. For anything else...thank you.

    The Backlist

    Bookmark This Page!

    Google Analytics