Saturday, December 14, 2019

Best Vintage Mystery Reprint of 2019, part one

The Salvation Army is ringing their bells on street corners.  The CTA has decked out their Holiday Train and Holiday Bus for the season.  And I'm running around hitting Chicago theaters, bars and restaurants celebrating my birthday. So you know what's that means. It's time once again for the Best Vintage Mystery Reprint of the Year.

Once again Kate Jackson, Mistress of Crossed Examining Crime, has gathered together a group of  mystery mavens and highly opinionated experts who are more than willing to tell you what their favorite books are and which ones are deserving of the coveted virtual award known as Best Vintage Mystery Reprint of the year.  or I guess Reprint of the Year for short.  Or even shorter -- The Roty [Not really].

For those who missed this extravaganza last year (or are too lazy to look it up from this blog's archives) I'll give you my own two most important rules for what I feel merit a wise choice of a vintage reprint:
  1. A truly forgotten author, long out of print
  2. Writing and plotting that contributes substantially to the genre
This year I've chose one male and one female writer who show innovation, ingenuity and tend to experiment with the conventions of traditional detective fiction to turn out unusual books.  For part one of the two nominations I've chosen one book by one of the genuinely forgotten writers, but most deserving of being re-introduced to the mystery community.

And now for nomination one.  Drum roll, please....

Murder En Route by Brian Flynn

  • Flynn's books have been out of print for decades, very few of them reprinted in paperback and none of them reprinted in paperback in the USA
  • His plots draw from weird fiction, sensation fiction, and impossible crime mysteries
  • His imaginative plots are kept interesting with lively characters, a nifty sense of humor and his love for detective fiction is infectious. Often he directly references writers who have influenced him like Conan Doyle and Arthur Morrison.
  • Murder En Route has a complex plot, an imaginative impossible crime, a riddle of identity and loads of fair play clues that might lead you to the solution.
Want to know more?  Read my review over here.

Next week the woman mystery writer who has had her two CWA award winning novels reissued along with one other mystery novel. Of note she is yet another writer overlooked by nearly all of the other vintage mystery blogs other than here at Pretty Sinister Books. To my knowledge she has only been covered at Dead Yesterday.

For more about how 2019's Reprint of the Year award nomination process is run and the schedule of visit Kate's blog Cross Examining Crime.


  1. I like your criteria. I am not entirely sold on the obscurity aspect though. Van Dine and Carr are much needed reprints.

    I think I have guessed your other pick. Not wanting to spoil, I will clue: One of her novels, the second to win the award, is named from a line in the English folk song Barbara Allen. I read it decades ago.

  2. You had me faked out for a minute, John, when I saw the Webster cover up there at the top.

    I've got one Brian Flynn sitting on my TBR pile...going to have to bring him up to the top of the stack based on your review and the Puzzle Doctor's championing of him.

  3. You will get atleast one vote for this book----mine!