Monday, June 11, 2018


Spring 2018. Issue #47.
Editor: Arthur Vidro.
Old-Time Detection Special Interest Group of American Mensa, Ltd.
36 pages (including covers).
Cover image: Nine of the Best.

     "Countless millions in cinemas all over the world have thrilled—for at
     least the fifth time—to the ingenuity of one of Christie's most original
     plots. Sadly, not everything on view was the creation of Agatha Christie
     —nor, indeed, ingenious." — Dr. John Curran

Every previous issue of OLD-TIME DETECTION has proven its value to readers who are fond of the traditional detective story, and the Spring number keeps that winning streak going. In almost every OTD you'll probably encounter something that you've rarely or never run across before.

In this one: The late, great Ed Hoch offers background on a durable character "born" almost a century ago, one that readers still recognize—and, no, it's not Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes. - Michael Dirda reviews one of the latest books about the Sage of Baker Steet, and later gives us his take on the book and film versions of an Agatha Christie classic. - We have an excerpt from Francis M. Nevins's definitive book about Cornell Woolrich. - Editor Vidro reproduces correspondence between T. S. Stribling and Ellery Queen as well as a radio interview with Stribling, and gives us a reprint of one of his stories. - The results of two reader polls given forty-five years apart show remarkable similarities and contrasts. - Dr. John Curran keeps us up to date with the world of Agatha Christie and, like Michael Dirda, offers his thoughts on the same film adaptation. - And throughout the issue you'll find perceptive commentary and reviews by Arthur Vidro, John L. Breen, Ruth Ordivar, Charles Shibuk, and Amnon Kabatchnik.
~ ~ ~


(1) "Blackie and Boyle: An Introduction," by Edward D. Hoch (1979), 5 pages:
    "The character of Boston Blackie was conceived, and the first four stories written, from a cell in a state penitentiary."
    Related: Mystery*File (HERE).

(2) "New Non-Fiction": Review by Michael Dirda (2017) of From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women Who Created an Icon, by Mattias Bostrom (2017):
    ". . . the best account of Baker Street mania ever written. Really."
    Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).

". . . more than a treat, it's a smorgasbord."
(3) "The Sherlockian Revolution in Paperback," by Charles Shibuk (1975):
    "The Sherlockian revolution appears to subside somewhat from time to time, but future developments appear inevitable."
". . . an absolute masterpiece."
(4) "Murder on the Orient Express: The Book and the Movie," by Michael Dirda (2017):
    "The great detective's final revelations, with all the suspects assembled in the dining car, may strike some readers as almost fantastical. Who cares? In classic mysteries, dazzle is what counts, and realism tends to be inversely proportional to ingenuity."
    Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).

(5) "Thirty-five Years Ago: Murder in Print," by John L. Breen (1983):
    "This is a wonderfully illustrated, richly rewarding reference that proves a book about mysteries can be both substantial and fun."

(6) "The Woolrich Films: Part Three," by Francis M. Nevins (1988):
    "It was the perfect story line for a suspense movie."
    Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE) - Mystery*File (HERE) and (HERE).

(7) "Stribling Letters," by Arthur Vidro (2018):
    "If the human race could have made such a great step as that last in seventy years, I see no reason why it should not disapprove of thieves with an ethical and moral culture extending over the next three hundred years."
    Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).

(8) "Royal Archives: Two Pistols and Judge Lynch," by Arthur Vidro (2018):
    "I'll be delighted for you to use Judge Lynch at the price you name. You take the story, I'll take the check."
    Related: Mystery*File (HERE).

(9) Fiction: "Judge Lynch," by T. S. Stribling (Adventure, June 1934 and EQMM, September 1950), 8 pages (online HERE):
    "While the shot echoed amid the twilight swamp, the old man stood behind the flange of a cypress watching the threshing, struggling thing in the water."

(10) The Original Poll: "Did You Hear the One About the Two TADpolls?" by Jon L. Breen (The Armchair Detective, February 1973), 1 page:
     "Detective fiction is the great Anglo-American art form, yet only the compiler's wife represented the British in this poll."
The winner . . .
(11) "The Old-Time Detection Poll of 2018," by Arthur Vidro, 2 pages:
     "Reader response was surprisingly strong."
     Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).

. . . and still Number One 45 years later.
(12) "Christie Corner," by Dr. John Curran (2018):
       "The Queen of Crime still reigns supreme."

"But whose Poirot was he portraying? Certainly not Agatha Christie's."
(13) Mini-ReviewsKeen appraisals of the known and the relatively obscure:
     ~ Mom Doth Murder Sleep (1991), reviewed by Ruth Ordivar:
       ". . . an unsung and often forgotten writer . . ."
       Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).

     ~ The Case of the Counterfeit Eye (1935), reviewed by Arthur Vidro:
       ". . . the plot zips along at an ultra-rapid pace."
       Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).

     ~ The Mysterious World of Agatha Christie (1975), reviewed by Amnon Kabatchnik (1976):
       "It is a treasure."
       Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).

       ~ Artists in Crime (1938), reviewed by Arthur Vidro:
       ". . . I found the book a bit tedious."
       Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).

(14) "The Readers Write":
       "Congratulations upon the reprinting of William Brittain's long-lost story."

(15) Puzzle Page
     Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).
~ ~ ~
Subscription information:
- Published three times a year: spring, summer, and autumn.
- Sample copy: $6.00 in U.S.; $10.00 anywhere else.
- One-year U.S.: $18.00 ($15.00 for Mensans).
- One-year overseas: $40.00 (or 20 pounds sterling or 25 euros).
- Payment: Checks payable to Arthur Vidro, or cash from any nation, or U.S. postage stamps.
Mailing address:
   Arthur Vidro, editor
   Old-Time Detection
   2 Ellery Street
   Claremont, New Hampshire 03743
Web address:


- We had the pleasure of reviewing Issue #46 of OTD (HERE).

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