Here's my slightly overdue second nomination for Best Vintage Mystery Reprint of 2019. Based on my hints in last week's post one savvy reader correctly predicted what I would be writing about. Anyone who has read Friday's Forgotten Book post on December 20 will also know what I'm about to announce.
But first some mandatory plugging. The Best Vintage Mystery Reprint of the Year is the brainchild of Kate Jackson. Everything you need to know about this years' contest can be found at her blog Cross Examining Crime. There will be two nominations from each of the seven participating in-the-know crime fiction mavens. Voting opens today, I believe, and the winner (winners?) will be announced on December 30.
Without further ado my second choice for the best reprint is...
Nothing Is the Number When You Die by Joan Fleming
Dover Publications, an American reprint house that is doing fine work reviving vintage crime fiction writers many of whom have been out of print for 50 years or more, has now reprinted a total of three Joan Fleming novels. Last year they gave us her two CWA Gold Dagger winning mystery novels. First, Young Man I Think You're Dying (originally published in 1970) and then in Sept. 2018 they followed up with When I Grow Rich (1962) reviewed here at Pretty Sinister Books back in 2013. Now they round out a perfect trilogy of Fleming's finest crime novels with the pseudo-sequel to When I Grow Rich. Nothing Is the Number When You Die also features her only series character Nuri Iskirlak, more formally referred to as Nuri bey throughout both novels.
I enjoyed this sequel more than the first of the Nuri bey books. While it was fun to get to read about 1960s era Turkey in When I Grow Rich, what makes this second novel more fascinating is the culture clash of a conservative man of Islamic faith travelling to the Swinging 60s of modern Oxford, England. He is barely equipped to face the vast differences between his homeland and this Brave New World.
The focus of the story is on two college age young people. Jason Yenish is a young man who Nuri has been tasked with tracking down and convincing him to return to school. Jason's wayward paramour, Ronda, has sent him derailing off his university track and careering down some very dangerous roadways as he tries to save the girl from her self-destructive drug and sex addiction.
The book is both a detective novel that follows an old "find the missing person" plot mixed with an action packed pursuit thriller. Nuri must also contend with a sinister Turk who is after a hidden cache of drugs. In acting as part detective, part counsellor and part action hero Nuri discovers a wealth of hidden traits and talents he never thought he was capable of.
For a detailed review go here.
And now let the voting begin! Good Luck to all the nominees.