CADS Issue 74: The Highlights

When this issue of CADs (Crime and Detective Stories) magazine came out, unfortunately I was a bit too busy to post about it so I decided to do a post after I read it. I myself contributed an article introducing Robin Forsythe’s Anthony Vereker mystery novels, which the Dean Street Press published last year. My piece gives an overview of the series as well as giving recommendations of where to start. This issue had lots of great articles in, covering many authors new to me or fleshing out authors I only knew a little about. The articles I enjoyed reading the most were:

  • ‘Josephine Tey’s Pre-War Crime Fiction: The Man in the Queue and A Shilling for Candles and ‘Baroness Orczy‘ (1865-1947) by Philip L. Scowcroft. The latter article was particularly useful as Orczy is not an author I know much about.
  • ‘Trending: Why is the Golden Age Fashionable Again?’ by Martin Edwards. This was a brilliant piece which looks at the various reasons why GAD fiction has become more popular again. It also amazed me that in two and a half years over 600,00 paperbacks have been sold in the British Library Crime Classics series and that in December 2014 Farjeon’s Mystery in White sold over 75,000 copies in a month, beating sales for Gone Girl.
  • ‘Dr Watson, Step into the Limelight’ by Liz Gilbey. A thought provoking piece which looks at the importance of Watson and what he gives to the Holmes series.
  • ‘Grant Allen and Arthur Conan Doyle: A Victorian Couple’ by Peter Calamai. Allen is an author I know of and have read the odd short story by him, but have yet to read a novel by him. Looking at the connections between Allen and Doyle and their different writing styles and beliefs was really interesting.

Geoff Bradley’s review of Richard Bradford’s Crime Fiction: A Very Short Introduction was also pleasing, though for the selfish reason that it corresponded with my own views on that work. The work in question being very derogatory towards the subject it is writing about. Apparently English crime fiction is by far and large rubbish and not worth reading in this book. Even modern English crime fiction takes a bashing as well as GAD fiction. There are also a number of mistakes in the work and keen eyed Geoff spotted more than I did, though I did pick up on the error of suggesting that Miss Marple features in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

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The letters also brought up some interesting information and ideas.  Firstly one letter mentions a tool for finding contemporary reviews on GAD fiction: have not tried this site myself but if anyone else has I would be interested to hear about experience of it.

Another letter to the magazine was asking for details about books, particularly older ones with scenes in cinemas, as they were trying to find such works for a friend writing on cinema studies. This intrigued me as I know that the cinema is a ropey alibi in mystery fiction and The ABC Murders do come to mind, but equally I am struggling to think of mystery novels which feature cinemas in a more significant way. Does anyone else know any mystery books with cinema scenes in?

If you want to sample CADs for yourself email Geoff the editor at



  1. I would be interested to read your article on Robin Forsythe… 🙂 I believe I was one of the first few people to mention him to you?

    Regarding cinemas, there’s a case in the Conan manga series on a murder in a cinema about to be bought over and rebuilt. The cinema also features as a significant alibi in Keigo Higashino’s ‘Devotion of Suspect X’, which I highly recommend. In terms of Golden Age mysteries, the setting tends to be the theatre rather than the cinema; I suppose the theatre allows for greater scope of human movement (on and off the stage, and not just looking at the screen)? I’m thinking of Patrick Quentin’s ‘Puzzle for Players’, Ellery Queen’s ‘Roman Hat Mystery’ and Christianna Brand’s ‘Death of Jezebel’ – can’t recall off the top of my head if John Dickson Carr has written anything set in the theatre? And of course, ‘Night Comes Calling’ of the Atticus Pund series. 😛

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  2. I’m pretty sure Patrick Quentin’s A Puzzle for Fools (1936) has a murder in a small cinema specially built in the sanitorium where the book is set; gotta lotta books in m’head, though, so I may be misremembering…

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  3. There is a series of “cozy” mysteries written by Jeffrey Cohen where the protagonist/sleuth owns a movie theater. The first book, ‘Some Like It Hot Buttered’, deals with a moviegoer who is murdered. Published in 2013 it hasn’t hit the ‘old’ category, yet. I’m not sure if the rest of the series deals with murder at the movies.

    Even more tangentially, Loren D. Estleman writes a series about a UCLA film archivist who always gets into trouble hunting down lost old movies. He uses the finder’s fees from recovering these old films to restore a ramshackle movie palace to its former glory. The first of these came out in 2008, the latest last year.

    The Estleman books are an entertaining spin on the Los Angeles gumshoe genre. The other series has some “cozy” humor but no mystery to speak of.

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