Crime, Supernatural and Adventure fiction.
Obscure, Forgotten and Well Worth Reading.
I absolutely love this feature, John!
I'm with Bev. More, please!
I'm enamored with the cover depicting Sgt. Beef, and would like a bit of background info on The Smiling Corpse. The teaser on the dust-jacket is absolutely tantalizing! Maybe you could review it one of these days?
Love THE GHOST HUNTERS!
That's a Leo Bruce I haven't read. Interesting. I suppose I should admit I have read maybe a third of his stuff...
TomCat -Philip Wylie wrote The Smiling Corpse with Bernard Bergman. It's a publishing satire more than a detective novel. A prominent critic has just written a treatise on detective fiction. He's done in while attending a literary tea with all of the authors shown on the cover in attendance. There are other celebrities present as well. The mystery writers all fight amongst one another to solve the crime. They are not very successful. A brief review is available at Mystery *File. I no longer have the book, but I kept a copy of the scan of the jacket. I can hardly recall a thing about it. You'll have to read the review by clicking on the link.
Tim -Meyrick's book is only worth seeking out for the DJ alone. The contents leave a lot to be desired. It's a short story collection. The protagonist is an occult detective investigating eerie crimes with possible supernatural influences. But, with the exception of one story, all the spook stuff is rationalized. The DJ illustration is for one of the most execrable stories of the bunch. It reminded me of a "Scooby Doo, Where Are You?" cartoon. The wire hanging from the mask painted with phosphorescent paint (shades of The Hound, eh?) is conveniently left off in the illustration.
Thanks, John! The story sounds like a hoot, and I will keep an eye out for a copy.
Rick -Apart from A Case for Four Clowns which was the most difficult Bruce title to find - until its paperback reissue by Academy Chicago just last fall - this is hardest to find of the Sgt. Beef books. I'm talking about the 1st edition hardcover. It was never published in the US until the Academy Chicago reprint. I confess I have never read any of the.Sgt Beef books. I've sampled Bruce's Carolus Deene books, though. A Case for Three Detectives is very popular - a book apparently everyone has read but me. I have a hardcover copy of Case without a Corpse (another 1st edition rarity) that is a book I definitely want to read ...one of these days.
Case with Ropes and Rings is quite good. I have Ghost Hunters somewhere. The Virgil Markham jacket is marvelous.
Achmed Abdullah? Have you read anything by him? I confess I know nothing about him.
Carol -It's the pseudonym for a Russian/Afghani immigrant. His real name was Alexander Nicholayevitch Romanoff (yes, related to those Romanoffs) and his mother was an Afghani princess.Best known as the screenwriter for The Thief of Baghdad - the silent movie with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. He wrote primarily Oriental fantasies and adventure stories for the pulp magazines. Also a few crime stories and novels. The most easily found of his books are two mediocre detective novels: The Bungalow on the Roof and The Trail of the Beast.I've read the stories in Wings and a novel called Flower of the Gods about a man who travels into the past after succumbing to the magical perfume of certain type of poppy. They are unusual and have a kind of dreamy often florid prose style. Reminiscent of the work of L. Adams Beck - a woman writer also fascinated with the mysteries of the East and the ideas of reincarnation and astral bodies.More on Achmed here.
John, I haven't read Case for Three Detectives either. Yet... I must say I love that "Case with Ropes and Rings" cover!
I especially LOVE The Bad Neighbors Murder cover. And The Phantom Gunman and The Smiling Corpse. Haven't read any of these, but I sure LOVE the covers. Thanks for this post, John. SO much fun to see these. :)
Meant to add: The Bad Neighbor Murder looks like the artwork of a New Yorker cartoonist. Very NYC.
I had another Charlotte Murray Russell book with a cartoon illustration DJ. It was by a woman artist named Sherwood. Can't recall her first name. When I was researching it for a book sale catalog I learned she had a few cartoons in the pages of "The New Yorker". When I get home later tonight I'll find out who the artist for The Bad Neighbor Murder is. It ought to be noted on one of the flaps, though it's not on the cover. It looks almost like Herbert Roese who did the drawings for all the Topper books. But it's a bit too clean in the lines for him. His stuff is more wild and sketchy.