Monday, July 25, 2022

Reprints Looming on the Horizon

I was hoping that I would be able to give you some wonderful news about a few reprints, but alas there are delays with one exciting reprint that was supposed to be out this fall.  Some of you may have already discovered that it's in the works if you've been out there a-Googling.  But I promised the publisher not to promote it until the rights are officially cleared and it's taking some time.  But rest assured the book will be here, just a bit later than planned.  Assiduous readers will find more details in a recent comment exchange at the bottom of a past post on said book.  I will say no more until I'm allowed to.

However! Don't get your panties in a bunch, gang.

There is other exciting news I can announce -- Cecil Wills detective novels are coming back!

Those lovable rascals who run Ramble House have teamed up with yours truly and they will be reissuing two rather scarce, very early Wills mystery novels featuring his series detective Geoffrey Boscobell. Both should be out by the end of this year, possibly sooner.  Author in Distress, Will's debut mystery  novel and the first with Sgt. Boscobell, will be the first released followed shortly thereafter by a new edition of the third Boscobell mystery novel Death Treads.  Plans are to reissue both as retro mapbacks the way many of the early Ramble House detective novels and mystery novels paid tribute to the highly collectible original Dell Mapbacks back in the early 2000s when RH was first reprinting Golden Age mystery fiction.  With artwork by Gavin O'Keefe and partly inspired by the maps and floor plans found in the original books I have provided these promise to be attractive new editions.  I'll be writing up a brief study of the Boscobell detective novels as a foreword to both new editions.

But that's not all, kiddos!

Galileo Publishers -- the same fine company that reprinted Clifford Witting's mysteries and will continue to do so over the next couple of years -- have secured the rights to the extremely hard to find mystery novels of Joan Cockin.  Her quirky detective novel, Villainy at Vespersabout the arcane art of brass rubbing, smuggling and bizarre murders was reviewed here at PSB back in February 2020.  All three of Cockin's detective novels starring her policeman Inspector Cam are planned for release over a two and half year period.  Villainy at Vespers will be the first. I believe it comes out in the fall or around Christmas.  It will be followed by Curiosity Killed the Cat (actually the first of the three mysteries) and end with Cockin's  highly elusive (dare I say rare?) and last mystery novel Deadly Ernest.  I've never seen a copy of that third book in my lifetime and I'm eager to get my hands on a review copy.

And the pièce de résistance, mes amies?

After years of thinking about creating my own imprint it's finally happening.  If all goes well Pretty Sinister Books will burst forth into the indie press world with the complete works of forgotten American writer Elma K. Lobaugh in the coming months.   I also have plans to reissue the nearly impossible to find detective novels by the highly original, utterly inventive, deliciously witty and thoroughly bizarre Reginald Davis. The line-up will then focus on dozens of under-appreciated and overlooked early 20th century American mystery writers whose books have languished in the Limbo of Out-of-Printdom for too long.

So much to look forward to as we head into the dog days of summer and autumn wends its brisk breezes and falling leaves our way.

Onward and upward!

22 comments:

  1. Thank you John. I imagine influencing publishers, navigating complex rights to these books as well as establishing your own imprint are far from easy. We all benefit from your dedication and effort to read authors' works that otherwise might be lost forever though. This is great news.

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    1. Still lots of work involved with setting up accounts with various online merchants. But I’m glad I shrugged away all my fears of failure and finally decided to take the plunge. Tired of others stealing my thunder and never giving me credit for dozens of books reprinted that were inspired by my writing these past ten or eleven years.

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  2. I am glad to see you have been hanging in there. I was surprised to see that Ramble House is publishing some books. I thought the owner had retired.

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    1. Ramble House is very much alive and active in the capable hands of affable and industrious Gavin O’Keefe. Last year we collaborated in reprinting the ultra rare Horowitz detective novel Pray for the Dawn by Eric Harding. But a heads up: Many of the newer Ramble House books are available through Lulu.com rather than Amazon. And always you can cheaper copies by ordering directly from Gavin. Visit the Ramble House site for the latest titles.

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  3. Huge congratulations are in order. Thank you for all these exciting future reads. My only caveat is that I do hope they will also be in kindle format as well and also at good prices in the UK. Agora are generally not too bad ,but some of the other ones are really off the scale for many readers . In the UK, Dean Street and British Library set the bar for fair prices.

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    1. Thanks for the good wishes, Alan. Also for the reminder about digital options. I may have to resort to Amazon for that essential.

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    2. Ugh! Horrible gaffe on my part. It's not Agora Books reprinting Joan Cockin's detective novels. It's Galileo Publishing! I've corrected the post. And to confuse you all even more -- they are also reprinting Joan Coggin's detective novels, two of which were previously reprinted in the USA by Rue Morgue Press (now defunct). Two completely different writers from two different eras whose books are extremely different in tone and manner though their names are very similar.

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  4. This is great news! Just a day after posting part of my wish and already can look forward to crossing off Reginald Davies. I'm more than a little curious about the dozens of overlooked, early 20th century American writers, you're planning to reprint. Clyde B. Clason? Eunice Mays Boyd? Ruth Darby? Tell us more!

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    1. I’d rather not jinx myself with any other specific author names. But I will let slip that many of them are out of copyright and do not require any rights negotiations. Huzzah! This, of course, means that the books originally were published between 1900 and 1922. And one from 1927 that I just finished reading. Rather good on the Norris rating scale with some high praise from Barzun too. That one is another scarce debut mystery — from one of the original Detection Club member, no less. And no more hints for a while.

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    2. Eunice Mays Boyd is currently being republished. Some previously unpublished work has already appeared. I've read a "new" novel and a novella.

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    3. Thanks for the news about Boyd. Did not know about that ambitious project. I just ordered the two “new” books. I hope there is a foreword explaining why they never appeared on her lifetime. Reissues of her original books from the 1940s apparently will be released next year. I’ve still not read any of them though I have all three! I’ll try to get to them in the fall and time my reviews with the release of the reprints.

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  5. Excellent news - particularly the Reginald Davises.

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  6. Many congrats, John, this all sounds wonderful. Thanks in advance for all your efforts on our behalfs!

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  7. Could you please make paperback versions proper Penguin / Pan / Pocket / Carroll & Graf / IPL format rather than those bloody trade paperbacks?

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    1. I’m not a fan of the large sized trade PBs either like those from Ramble House and LRI. I’m opting for the size similar to the Moonstone Press PB reissues. I don’t think I can go much smaller with the POD printers I’m looking at and keep costs within reason. I’m still investigating.

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  8. I too am glad to hear this good news and I hope it will not be too difficult to get hold of at least some of them them in the UK

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  9. On the reprint front, Black Heath have published 11/15 Max Dalman novels but only in Kindle editions. Currently reading my way through.

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  10. I have just started to read Catt Out of the Bag by Clifford Witting and noticed he has dedicated the book to Reginald Davis . A Google search led me to your 2019 posting trying to find out more about an author called Davis and wondered if they might be the same person ? Witting published Catt in 1939 so the dates correspond.

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  11. You positively reviewed Joan Cockin's, Villainy & Vespers, on your blog. In that post, you said that you also had Curiosity Killed the Cat. Did you like that one as well?

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    1. Review coming in August! She’s a literate witty writer, Scott. Curiosity Killed a Cat is inspired by her work as a diplomat in a foreign embassy. I Iiked Villainy… more, but both have their merits. You’ll enjoy both, I’m sure.

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  12. Sorry for being Anonymous. My daughter broke my computer, it's fixed but I lost a lot of links and info. the thing is still being a tad awkward. it's why I've not been around much.

    Glad to see you in fine form and starting your own indie press. Lulu is good in that it is available in the UK, so tends to be reasonable in price. I've been part of the BHF books of Horror that are available on Lulu, even if you have to tick the adult content box to find them.

    Some lovely books to look forward to, I guess I'll have to start saving. I picked up a cheap copy of Along Came A Spider by Elizabeth Davis, I know you said it's not one of the best but I am a sucker for these types of books. I've not had chance to read it yet. I did finally manage Rivers of London - crime/magic/occult, very readable. Not sure if they are known in the USA, plus Christopher Fowler had some tales out, Hot water is a non B&M crime novel I've just started. - Wayne Mook.

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    1. Ben Aaronovitch's books were published here in paperback simultaneously with the UK editions of the Rivers of London series. I read two of them, but never read any others. OK as mash-ups. I also read some of Jim Butcher's books about Dresden. Similar kind of books dealing with magic and crime, but thoroughly American. But I realized the more I read this genre -- especially when I was tempted to try Charlaine Harris' horrible vampire novels (wretched as mystery novels, laughable as "erotic" novels) -- these really are NOT the kind of book I like to read.

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