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    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.

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    « Slight Delay This Week | Main | Ripley's Resolutions »

    January 10, 2017


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    This is the second Judge Dee review that I've seen posted his week, Les, and the second one that also sounds quite fabulous. Thus, I shall take the hint that the universe clearly wants me to get to van Gulik before too long and dig out the books of his I have...somewhere. Many thanks!

    Les Blatt

    JJ, I'd recommend two possible starting points. One is "The Chinese Lake Murders," which is very clever, with a lot of traditional elements; the other, "Necklace and Calabash," was the last in the series and is closest to "western" style. The Judge Dee mysteries kindled my interest in China, too, and I really do recommend the series. Some are quite dark - in particular "The Chinese Nail Murders" - but all are excellent. By the way, Van Gulik started by translating one of the old Chinese mysteries about Judge Dee, which is also a fine read - "The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee" - at the end of which, he issued a "challenge" to other western authors to try their hand at writing a "traditional" Chinese mystery Nobody took up the challenge, so Van Gulik decided to do it himself!


    Les, you are a gent -- many thanks for these recommendations. So you think it's better to start with The Chinese Lake Murders over The Chinese Gold Murders which I unserdtand to be the first in the series? I'm not too worried about the more Westernised elements; if anything, I'd like it to be less Westernised and more in keeping with the original spirit!

    Les Blatt

    JJ, while there is a clear chronology followed by the novels - it is not related to the order in which the books were written. If you get the book of short stories called "Judge Dee at Work," you will find a five-page chronology of all of Judge Dee's cases, including information about some of the continuing characters and the aides who helped the judge solve the cases. But the books weren't written in that order. "The Chinese Gold Murders" is the first in this chronology, set in 663 AD, as it happens when Judge Dee takes his first independent official post. But it was the fifth book written in the series. "The Chinese Lake Murders" (666 AD)is the third in the chronology and also the third to be written. "The Haunted Monastery" is also set in 666 AD, but the sixth book written. Each book is a standalone, although as Van Gulik went on, he'd sometimes include a foreshadowing of "later" events in other books. I do think you'll enjoy them.

    By the way, the chronology was drawn up and published before Van Gulik's final book, "Necklace and Calabash," which is set in 668-669 AD. I find the whole thing fascinating.

    I'm a fan of these. Have read about half and keep meaning to get to the rest. I think they were the first historical mysteries I read, followed by the Brother Cadfael stories. joe allegretti


    Ah, see, I did not know they weren't written in the order they're set -- sounds like some research is needed! Thanks again, Les; I'll start with Chinese Lake Murders and see how I go from there!

    Les Blatt

    I think it's an interesting series, Joe,(as are Ellis Peters's Brother Cadfael books). Some are quite dark, too. But I love the regulars - the Judge, his three principal assistants (four, if you count Sergeant Hoong), and his three wives. All 15 novels (16 if you count "Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee") and the short stories in "Judge Dee at Work" are very much worth reading.

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