Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Summer 2016. Issue #42.
Editor: Arthur Vidro.
Old-Time Detection Special Interest Group of American Mensa, Ltd.
40 pages (including covers).
Cover image: Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896).

As always, Arthur Vidro has made sure there's something — in fact, quite a few somethings — to delight in each issue of OLD-TIME DETECTION. This time the somethings comprise a review of a collection of novels written by women pioneering a new type of crime fiction — an appreciation of an unjustly obscure impossible crime author — the latest news about Agatha, not all of it good — Woolrich's first nightmare adapted to film — an adventure with Hildegarde and Oscar — more additions to the H & Q list —  Twain's vernal 'tec — and more ... all in all, a nice variety.

In this issue:

(1) MEGA-REVIEW: Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s and 1950s (2015) by Dennis Drabelle (2 pages; 2015):
    ". . . as Sarah Weinman shows in this collection assembled for the Library of America, during the 1940s and 1950s American women were at work on something relatively new: the psychological crime novel."
    Related: (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), and (HERE).
(2) FEATURE ESSAY: "Hake Talbot and the Magic of Mystery" by Steven Steinbock (7 pages; 2014):
    "In spite of his small output [two novels and two short stories], Talbot's work stands out as a high point in the field of mystery fiction for the remarkable ingenuity of his plots, his unique hero, and his deft use of atmosphere to bafflingly blur the line between rational and magical."
    Related: (HERE).
(3) THIRTY-PLUS YEARS AGO by John L. Breen (2 pages; 1981, 1982):
    "Recent years have seen a succession of large and ambitious reference books in the mystery field, and no end is in sight."
    Related: (HERE) and (HERE).
(4) THE PAPERBACK REVOLUTION by Charles Shibuk (2.5 pages; 1969):
    "S. S. Van Dine's Philo Vance series was not only of great importance in the history of the detective story, but its merit was also extremely high."
    Related: (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), and (HERE).

(5) CHRISTIE CORNER by Dr. John Curran (1.5 pages; 2016):
    "Poor Agatha Christie! As if the travesties of adaptations of her own work were not insult enough, she is now due to appear as a character in a film, alongside Arthur Conan Doyle as they attempt to solve the mystery of a kidnapped business tycoon. Can you imagine anything less likely?"
    Related: (HERE).

(6) AT THE CINEMA by William K. Everson (1 page; 1987):
    "Street of Chance is of importance in being the first of the nightmarish Cornell Woolrich stories to be adapted to the screen . . ."
    Related: (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), and (HERE).
(7) FICTION: "Hildegarde and the Spanish Cavalier" by Stuart Palmer (9.5 pages; EQMM, December 1955):
    "She began to laugh — shrill hysterical laughter that went on and on."
    Related: (HERE).
(8) AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: "Notes on C. E. Vulliamy" by Charles Shibuk (2.5 pages; 1970, 1972, 1973):
    "The stories are related with elegance, wit, and increasing amounts of pessimism and contempt for the fools who inhabit this planet."
    Related: (HERE) and (HERE).
    "Here, then, is a list compiled by non-experts, just enthusiastic readers, and it is the end result of five years of painstaking but loving labor."
    Related: (HERE), (HERE), and (HERE).

(10) LOOKING BACKWARD by Charles Shibuk (1.25 pages; 2016):
    Reviews of Dead Pigeon (1951) ("an interesting and entertaining detective novel") and The Radium Terrors (1912) ("suffers from a staggering lack of merit, but its pacing and narrative style are slightly better than one would expect from a 1912 novel").
    Related: (HERE).
(11) MINI-REVIEW of Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896) by Arthur Vidro (.75 page; 2016):
    "Yes, there are clues, but not of the fair-play variety."
    Related: (HERE) and (HERE).
(12) "Mystery Is More Than Murder" by Steven C. Levi (1 page; 2016):
    ". . . a mystery novel should be mysterious."
    Related: (HERE) and (HERE).
(13) THE READERS WRITE (1.5 pages):
    "I found the Ellery Queen story 'The Adventure of the Haunted Cave' a treat, and was pleased to find I couldn't nail the culprit down before the end."

(14) PUZZLE (0.5 page):
    "Depicted below is a radio actress. Can you identify her, and her connection to old-time detective fiction?"
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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:

- Our review of the Spring 2016 issue of OTD is (HERE).

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