Saturday, September 16, 2017


Summer 2017. Issue #45.
Editor: Arthur Vidro.
Old-Time Detection Special Interest Group of American Mensa, Ltd.
34 pages (including covers).
Cover image: C. Daly King's Obelists Fly High (1935).

   WE always look forward to the next issue of OLD-TIME DETECTION because not only is there always something about detective fiction in it that's new to us, but also older items
that allow us to indulge our weakness for nostalgia, and this issue is no exception.
   Between its covers you can find: Michael Grost's best picks of the forties and fifties; Dr. John Curran's latest about what's going on in the world of Agatha Christie, including a discussion of an awful film adaptation (1928) of a Harley Quin story; and Martin Edwards's take on his new book, The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books.
   There's an Inspector Mallett short short short story by Cyril Hare that hasn't seen publica-tion for eight decades, enchanced with Tony Medawar's comments; Francis M. Nevins's take on The Leopard Man (1943), a significantly altered filmed version of a Cornell Woolrich novel; and J. Randolph Cox's substantial article about Robert Barnard (1936-2013).
   Finally there's Michael Dirda's review of a book about Fergus Hume's famous The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (1886), the one that, profit-wise, got away from him; Charles Shibuk's list of classic mysteries that deserve reprinting; and thoughtful reviews and commentary from Shibuk, Jon L. Breen, Trudi Harrov, Amnon Kabatchnik, and Arthur Vidro.

Note: We've included some links, indicated by (HERE), to other websites with related information.
(1) The Readers Write:
 ". . . this area of literature [mystery/detective fiction] where action and psychological analysis have replaced plot, mystery, and genuine detection."

(2) Best of Year, by Michael Grost:
 Mike's picks for the years 1949-1956.

(3) Christie Corner, by Dr. John Curran:
 "If you thought that the travestying of literary material was a relatively new phenomenon well . . . think again, as the film was an unrecognizable hodgepodge of nonsense, sacrificing the neatness of Christie's story to a melodramatic scenario of thwarted love, preposterous disguises, and absurd plot developments." — (HERE)

(4) The Paperback Revolution, by Charles Shibuk (1969):
 "The time is lazy, idyllic summer, and the problems are the minor matters of robbery and murder." — (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), and (HERE).
(5) New Non-fiction:
 ~ The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books, by Martin Edwards:
 ". . . takes the story of classic crime a step further, by exploring the way it changed over the course of fifty years. Along the way, I look at tropes such as 'the locked room mystery,' 'the country house mystery,' 'dying message clues,' and much else besides. I've not confined myself simply to rounding up the usual suspects." — (HERE)

(6) Thirty-Five Years Ago, by Jon L. Breen (1983):
 "Fortunately for their readers, many writers of mystery and detective fiction have had both long lives and long careers. Many of the masters of the twenties and the thirties continued

to produce new books into the seventies." — (HERE), (HERE), and (HERE).
(7) Fiction:
 ~ "The Return Visit," by Cyril Hare (1940, 4 pages):
 "There's nothing like a little well-directed publicity." — (HERE) and (HERE)

(8) Serendip's Detectives XVII: Mallett's Last Blow, by Tony Medawar:
 "Contrary to the stereotypes of the genre, at least in the Golden Age, [Inspector] Mallett is no fool. Though stolid and solid in appearance, he can fairly be described as one of the smartest police detectives in the whole of crime and mystery fiction." — (HERE)

(9) The Woolrich Films, Part Two, by Francis M. Nevins (1988):
 "The next Woolrich work [Black Alibi, 1942] to be adapted to the screen [as The Leopard Man, 1943] was assigned to a producer and a director whose genius for poetic terror rivaled Woolrich's own." — (HERE) and (HERE)
(10) Looking Backward, by Charles Shibuk (1973, 1977, 1978):
 ~ Murder in the Gilded Cage (1929):
 ". . . no towering edifice of brilliant detection, but it is a competent work . . ." — (HERE)

 ~ The Deadly Homecoming (1972):
 ". . . at its core it is a legitimate problem in deduction . . ."
 ~ He Arrived at Dusk (1933):
 ". . . holds up very well for its years." — (HERE) and (HERE).

 ~ A Matter of Nerves (1950):
 ". . . it's only fair." — (HERE) and (HERE)

(11) Big Feature:
 ~ Robert Barnard, by J. Randolph Cox (2003, 11 pages):
 "Barnard has been called a more sophisticated Agatha Christie; yet, unlike Christie's work, his novels are driven by characterization and satire rather than plot and, consequently, prove satisfying even when the detection itself is weak." — (HERE) and (HERE)

(12) Mega-Review:
 ~ Blockbuster! Fergus Hume and 'The Mystery of the Hansom Cab' (2015), reviewed by Michael Dirda (2016):
 ". . . in this engrossing study [author Lucy] Sussex is less concerned with the merits of Hansom Cab than with its creation, publication, and marketing." — (HERE) and (HERE)

(13) Mini-Reviews:
 ~ Partners in Crime (1929), reviewed by Trudi Harrov:
 ". . . the stories are more character-driven than most of the author's works." — (HERE) and (HERE)

 ~ A Bid for Fortune, or Dr. Nikola's Vendetta (1895), reviewed by Amnon Kabatchnik (1973):
 "His [Guy Boothby's] cornerstone contribution is the creation of Dr. Nikola, probably the first series arch-villain in literature." — (HERE), (HERE), and (HERE)
 ~ Calling All Suspects (1939), reviewed by Charles Shibuk:
 ". . . a fast, easy read . . ." — (HERE)
 ~ Someday the Rabbi Will Leave (1985), reviewed by Arthur Vidro:
 "Kemelman does his usual professional job of blending diverse personalities and interests with a lethal crime and letting the rabbi solve the case." — (HERE)
 ~ Obelists Fly High (1935), reviewed by Arthur Vidro:
 "Compared to the above-mentioned trio [of Christie, Carr, and Queen], [author C. Daly] King's output was slim; but his quality often gave them a run for their money." — (HERE)
and (HERE)
(14) Neglected but Recommended, by Charles Shibuk:
   ". . . these novels are of high merit and are worthy of reprint."

(15) This Issue's Puzzle:
   "Below is a frame from a movie . . . and yes, it ties into old-time detection."

~ ~ ~
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 last encounter with OLD-TIME DETECTION was (HERE).

No comments:

Post a Comment