Thursday, May 26, 2016


Spring 2016. Issue #41.
Editor: Arthur Vidro.
Old-Time Detection Special Interest Group of American Mensa, Ltd.
36 pages (including covers).
Cover image: E. C. Bentley's Elephant's Walk (1950).

It's simple enough to state: If you have even the slightest interest in detective fiction then you should get every available issue of Arthur Vidro's (Give Me That) OLD-TIME DETECTION (OTD to its friends). This one, as with all of them, more than repays its cost.


(1) Essay: "The Classical Detective Novel in America" by Jon L. Breen (5 pages):
   Breen's fine essay from 1984 highlights the current neglect of some really good American Golden Age proponents of the pure detective novel, a neglect which is only now in the early 2000s being corrected (including a surge in e-book reprints) that makes these "forgotten" authors widely accessible once more.

(2) Author Spotlight: "Edmund Clerihew Bentley" by Charles Shibuk (3 pages):
   While Bentley's detective fiction output was never large, he proved to be quite influential in the field.
   Stories discussed at some length: Trent's Last Case, the "Greedy Night" parody, Trent's Own Case, Trent Intervenes, and Elephant's Walk.
   Resources: Wikipedia HERE and the GAD Wiki HERE.

(3) Review: The Decagon House Murders by Michael Dirda (2 pages):
   ". . . a terrific mystery, a classic of misdirection very much in the manner of Agatha Christie or John Dickson Carr.  . . .  this book really is a pleasure for anyone who enjoys locked room mysteries, impossible crimes, or Golden Age 'Challenges to the Reader'."
   Resources: Wikipedia HERE and HERE.
(4) Fiction: "The Adventure of the Haunted Cave" (1940) by Ellery Queen (7 pages):
   "He had been strangled to death. And his footprints, which later measurements proved could only have been made by his bare feet, showed plainly that he was the only human being who had walked across the clearing."
   For Ellery, Nikki, Inspector Queen, and Sergeant Velie, what should have been a relaxing weekend in the mountains turns first into a ghost hunt, then rapidly escalates into a full-fledged locked cave murder mystery. With a "Challenge to the Reader"!
   Resources: Wikipedia HERE and the GAD Wiki HERE.

(5) Christie Corner by Dr. John Curran (1.5 pages):
   "I had always assumed that no screen version of Christie could be as consistently bad as the Marple series. Little did I know . . ."
   Resources: Wikipedia HERE and the GAD Wiki HERE.
(6) At the Cinema by William K. Everson (1.5 pages):
   Reviews of two films: The Kennel Murder Case (1933), "which not only has an unusually intriguing mystery, but a logical and well-arrived-at solution too"; and Bulldog Jack (a.k.a. Alias Bulldog Drummond, 1935), "not only a pungent and subtle spoof of the genre, but also an excellent if tongue-in-cheek thriller in its own right."
   Resources: The GAD Wiki HERE and the IMDb HERE; the GAD Wiki HERE and the IMDb HERE.
(7) "The Paperback Revolution" by Charles Shibuk (2 pages):
   Books discussed: The Big Four, The Labors of Hercules, Third Girl, And Then Put Out the Light, Panic in Box C, The Venus Trap, A Taste for Violence, Blue City, Black Orchids, Love Lies Bleeding, and Buried for Pleasure.
(8) The Readers Write (1 page):
   "I was so pleased to see Cat of Many Tails emerged as the top choice in your survey of crime fiction experts . . ."

(9) Feature: "The Life and Times of Gideon Fell" by Marvin Lachman (7.25 pages):
   Treating Carr's fictional characters as if they were real, Lachman offers a brief but excellent bibliographical biography (or biographical bibliography) of the great solver of seemingly impenetrable problems, Dr. Gideon Fell, book by book; there's also a fascinating addendum presenting Lachman's theory of what happened to Mrs. Fell.
   Resources: Wikipedia HERE and the GAD Wiki HERE.

(10) Mini-Reviews (2 pages):
   Short but smart reviews by Amnon Kabatchnik, Charles Shibuk, Bruce Dettman, Ruth Ordivar, and Arthur Vidro.
   The books: Death to the Rescue (1931), The Needle's Kiss (1929), The Art of the English Murder (2014), Dangerous Landing (1975), and The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy (1975).
   Resource: The GAD Wiki HERE.
(11) Puzzle (.25 page).

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 or cash or U.S. postage stamps.
Mailing address:
   Arthur Vidro, editor
   Old-Time Detection
   2 Ellery Street
   Claremont, New Hampshire 03743
Web address:

- Our review of the Autumn 2015 issue of OTD is HERE.

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