Saturday, January 8, 2022

2021 Catch-up and Sneak Peak at 2022 Projects

Last year is a week over and I hesitate to do all the "Best Books" kinds of lists.  Instead I thought I'd explain my absence from frequent blogging towards the end of last year as well as a brief outline of how I plan to return to the blog for this year. So here goes...

  • The Moonstone Press project devoted to reprinting Bruce Graeme's detective novel series with Theodore Terhune wrapped up in November. You'll see the final two books soon. Speaking of which -- The box of my copies of Ten Trails to Tyburn (Terhune book #5) which was released as a digital book back in October finally arrived.  The postmark on the battered box was October 27!  Two months and two weeks is a new record for extremely slow service from the Chicago Postal service. I told you it was nightmare living here and dealing with the mail. I'm still waiting for two books to turn up that were mailed to me in March 2021.  I may never see those.
  • I read close to two dozen "new" books last year (classified, for me, as books published between 2019 and 2021). Only those that I deemed exemplary were reviewed on the blog. You will see a few more posts on the cream of the crop of new books that I read that capture the spirit of traditional detective novels or are retro-noir coming later this month and in February.
  • "Left Inside" posts will return every Sunday for 2022!  Huzzah, huzzah! (I hear a handful of you crying)  This used to be a regular feature about pieces of paper and other objects I find in books that I've purchased. When I ran out of items in a  the box of ephemera I've amassed over 20 years of collecting books the feature disappeared.  But I've got a lot more stuff that turned up over the past year and a half.
  • More "Moonlighters" will be featured at least once a month if all goes as planned. There were many that I composed last year and left in my Drafts folder for one reason or another.  I'll take a look at those essays again, polish them up, and post them throughout the year.
  • If all goes well there will be some exciting reprint editions to consider for "ROY 2022."  I have received emails about one title in particular that I can't mention yet, but I am very excited about its being reissued. It may prove to be the hit of 2022 if I am allowed to play at being a seer. Other reissued book possibilities include long out-of-print and extremely hard to find titles from Edna Sherry, Reginald Davis,  S. H. Courtier, Libbie Block and Christopher Hale.
  • I think I will retire from writing forewords in 2022. I don't seek out these jobs; they have always come to me. But in the future I will probably decline.  I prefer suggesting titles and helping seek out rights to the actual writing of introductory material. Besides, there are other experts out there who do it much better than I do.
  • Good news for those who like free stuff -- the giveaway contests for the remaining three Terhune books will continue as the copies trickle in. Ten Trails... giveaway is coming next week. Additional good news -- I'll open the contests to everyone no matter where you live. Woo-hoo!
  • My big goal is to have several short stories published in 2022. It has taken half a lifetime to get the courage up to return to a childhood dream that I had since I was 15 years old --  to be a published mystery writer. Wish me luck!
A very happy 2022 to all of you.  May we all get what we hope for this year!


  1. John - Happy new year and best wishes in 2022. I continue to read your blog but also look back at earlier posts with tags such as "impossible crime", "locked room mystery" or "supernatural". You remain a valued source for rare mysteries that I otherwise would never have known by authors such as Christopher Hale, John Donovan (aka Nigel Morland), Robert Hare, Shelley Smith, Eric Harding, Irina Karlova, etc. Many of these are out of print, but I keep a list of titles that could appear like Zoë Johnson "At the Sign of the Clove and the Hoof" or the Shaffers' "Withered Murder" even if I may never get to read those. I look forward to your blog plans for this year.

  2. Hello and Happy New Year. I have a question. Regarding the Theodore Terhune books, which I discovered via your blog and am enjoying immensely, Moonstone lists seven books in the series. In other places, "Dead Pigs at Hungry Farm" is listed as another. Do you know if that's actually the case? Thanks. - D

    1. You're right. My own list of the Theodore Terhune detective novels lists that title as the final volume in the series. It tells the story of the murder of an African immigrant, but is unfortunately riddled with racial epithets and backward opinions. The publisher chose not to reprint the book. If we mention only seven books we meant not to censor Graeme but only talk of the seven books that are part of the reissued editions. Copies of Dead Pigs at Hungry Farm are out there, albeit priced exorbitantly, if you are interested in reading the final volume. But I can assure you that it's a huge disappointment when compared to the other books in the series. It won't be missed.

  3. My best wishes, John. May you realize your dreams. Looking forward to some exciting and intriguing stories from you.

  4. It all sounds terrific, looking forward to each and every post and story!

  5. Look forward to the further delights, I've read 'The Listening House' by Mabel Seeley, I really enjoyed it, she creates wonderful atmosphere full of wonderful gothic overtones. Thanks for pointing out the re-issue.

    Good luck with the writing and look forward to reading your first crime novel.


  6. I love your blog and learning about vintage mystery writers. Keep up the great writing!

  7. " I have received emails about one title in particular that I can't mention yet, but I am very excited about its being reissued. It may prove to be the hit of 2022 if I am allowed to play at being a seer."
    Well, if you want it to do well in Kate's ROY award 2022, I suggest that instead of keeping it secret, you start publicising it and build a hype around it (as Puzzle Doctor did around Brian Flynn)!

  8. I hope you have a great and productive 2022! I admire your decision to read two dozen "new" books last year -- that's a resolution I am adopting for this new year. (I can all too easily get caught up in Golden Age Detective fiction, but should share the love with authors who are still alive and producing work!)

    And speaking of that, I hope you get your stories out there for publication and perusal. Keep persevering, and enjoy the journey. All best wishes -- JH