This is a meme which Kerrie over at Paradise-Mysteries blog has created so click on the link to find out more about it and also to see other contributions by other bloggers including Jose Ignacio’s who writes the blog A Crime is Afoot. Something I enjoyed about writing this post was that it made me realise how many new authors I had encountered without really trying. Below is a short summary of these new authors, with a few comments on which ones to try, which ones to run away from etc.
I was introduced to this author through the Dean Street Press who have reprinted her three novels and brought her back from obscurity. Her three novels were Knock Murderer Knock (1938), Bleeding Hooks (1940) and Blue Murder (1942). Out of the three I think the last one is her best where all of her strengths which can be seen to an extent in the others come together and provide a psychologically compelling story with a really good ending.
This was an author I came across due to Past Offence’s Monthly challenge: Crimes of the Century. I read her The Mystery of the Hidden Room (1922), which I didn’t find very good, so this is one I definitely suggest to avoid.
This author was brought to my attention through Coachwhip Publications who have been reprinting his work. I have read two of his books, Murder on Tour (1933) and The Cat Screams (1934), which both have an interesting Mexican setting. If you like Agatha Christie (who doesn’t??) I think this is an author who is worth a try as his style did often remind me of Christie’s work and his pace was also very good.
In an attempt to get into the festive mood I tried Francis Duncan’s Murder for Christmas (1949) and although it did have a number of features going for it, it did turn out to be quite an average read for me and I am not sure this is an author I will return to.
Wynne is a relatively unknown Golden Age mystery author. But this has now changed of course as the British Library have recently reprinted his Murder of a Lady (1931), which features a high body count, a set of seemingly impossible crimes and a good amateur sleuth, all set within the Scottish Highlands. Like Downing and Rutland, this is definitely an author I would recommend.
The last three authors which were new to me came to my attention through the Collin Crime Club reprints and are offer quite range within the mystery and detection genre.
Although I did not warm to the central policeman in Froest’s The Grell Mystery (1913), though he certainly made me think, the mystery set is definitely an intriguing one and the first half of the book is action packed. Moreover, in some respects it felt like a very early form of a police procedural in parts.
Out of the three Conway’s Called Back (1883) is probably the most loosely defined mystery as it has a mixture of other genre elements such as adventure and sensation fiction, which perhaps take over in the second half of the book. Some parts of the mystery are easy to solve, but not all and due to it being partly an adventure story, when reading it, it is easy to get engaged in seeing what the central character will do next. If you have got yourself into a mystery fiction rut, I think this short novel will help provide you with something which is a little bit different.
Capes was the final new author to me and his novel The Mystery of the Skeleton Key (1919) has the mystery novel components we are all familiar with such as the country house and the maverick and supreme Great Detective figure in Baron Le Sage. However, there were some elements of the novel which made me pause for thought, as attested to in my review. Although having a great middle section, with a very good court room scene, the beginning and the ending of the story, let the novel down; the first making the plot feel rather tangential and the latter revealing a lot of withheld evidence, including the aforementioned skeleton key.
Over to you
What new authors did you discover between October and December 2015? Any we need to rush out to buy, even if we’re still in our pyjamas? Or were there any we should avoid?