Wednesday, January 10, 2018


Autumn 2017. Issue #46.
Editor: Arthur Vidro.
Old-Time Detection Special Interest Group of American Mensa, Ltd.
36 pages (including covers).
Cover image: Anthony Boucher.

   THE LATEST ISSUE of OLD-TIME DETECTION is here and it's definitely worth a look, as it's full to the brim with information and insights about detective fiction's Golden Age (and beyond). J. Randolph Cox has a biographical sketch of A.E.W. Mason, remembered today more for his general fiction than his mysteries . . . Dr. John Curran keeps us up to date with the latest doings in the ever-expanding Agatha Christie universe . . . Jon L. Breen offers expert opinions about authors who were hot in the early '80s . . . Francis M. Nevins gives us a fine overview of the life and times of uber-reviewer Anthony Boucher, a genius in any field he chose to explore . . . Michael Dirda has recommendations for those chilly evenings when TV isn't spooky enough . . . Charles Shibuk reveals the pleasures to be found in paperback reprints . . . Dennis Drabelle highlights the late P. D. James's short mystery fiction, something she seldom produced . . . and, to top it all off, editor Arthur Vidro offers up a typically fine puzzler by William Brittain originally from EQMM.

(1) Spotlight on A.E.W. Mason, by J. Randolph Cox:
    "[In the character of Hanaud] Mason seems to have wanted to create a professional detective who was unlike Sherlock Holmes, a man who was genial and friendly and willing to trust his intuition. Hanaud is all of these but is never described explicity. He is revealed by his actions, as an actor in a play is revealed."
    Related information at: The GAD Wiki (HERE) and A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection (HERE).

(2) Christie Corner, by Dr. John Curran (2017):
    "This year's [Agatha Christie] Festival was, sadly, a disappointment." . . . "[While living year-round in Wallingford] She [Christie] expected, and received, no special treatment but led a quiet and generally anonymous life among them."

    Related info at: A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection (HERE) and the GAD Wiki (HERE).

(3) Thirty-Five Years Ago, by Jon L. Breen (1982):
    "[Stephen] King is not just a good, reliable storyteller but a great one" . . . "[Ruth] Rendell has surprises to offer as well as keen insights into character." . . . "This is a worthy sequel because of its freshly-minted bamboozlement." . . . "Bill Pronzini lavishes unprecedented attention on works on bad mystery fiction in his Gun in Cheek . . ."
(4) The World of Anthony Boucher, by Francis M. Nevins (1983):
    "At two the next morning she [Lee Wright] woke up her husband with the excited cry that she had just found the first unsolicited manuscript she ever wanted to publish."
    Related: A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection (HERE) and the GAD Wiki (HERE).
(5) Mystery Collections for a Cold Winter's Night, by Michael Dirda (2016):
    "Even if you're snowed in for the holidays — or all of January, for that matter — these collections will keep you cozy."
    Related: Mystery*File (HERE) and (HERE), and The Passing Tramp (HERE).
(6) The Paperback Revolution, by Charles Shibuk (1970):
    ". . . the best reprint period I have seen in many years."
    Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), and (HERE).
(7) Fiction:
 ~ "Mr. Lightning," by William Brittain, writing as "James Knox" (1966, 9 pages):
   "The man in the comic strip. He walked right up the alley there just when the men came out of the bank, and touched them with his electric hands. And then he took them back down the alley."
   Related: ONTOS (HERE) and A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection (HERE).

(8) Mega-Review, by Dennis Drabelle (2016):
 ~ The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories, by P. D. James:
   "The four tales in this slim volume, then, are old-fashioned, at least up to a point: no noir, yet plenty of shadows; no explicit sex, but ample erotic tension. And James spins them with the economy demanded by the short form."

(9) Looking Backward, by Charles Shibuk (1972, 1974, 1980):
    ". . . one of the most offbeat and compelling novels that you are ever likely to come across." . . . ". . . it is highly readable, but its uneasy blend of disparate elements have not coalesced into a completely successful mixture." . . . " "Gone is the mastery of plot and puzzle, the spinning of deceptive clues, the sharp and incisive descriptions and dialogue."
    Related:  The GAD Wiki (HERE) and (HERE).
(10) This Issue's Puzzle:
     "Identify the actor and actress and the roles they are playing."

(11) The Readers Write:
     "Thank you for all the work you put into this unique digest of those authors and works who I think stand the test of time!

(12) A New (but Old-Time) Mystery Favorites Poll (5 categories).

~ ~ ~
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 discussed last summer's issue of OTD (HERE).

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