Among Michael Dirda's vast reading interests is classic detective fiction and, in contrast with some, he takes notice of the worthy efforts of small presses and micro-presses, who often today are making some of the most interesting choices in genre fiction publishing.
I have been involved for a few years now with Coachwhip, who has republished not only the Downing mysteries but a number of other vintage mystery writers. I'll be saying more about this a bit later.
|George Sanders is back in print|
dealing with crime and mystery
in his most inimitable fashion
Stranger at Home is back in print
Crime, in which George Sanders himself serves as narrator and detective, is, as the foreword states, "a clever spoof on Sanders' screen persona," as well as an entertaining mystery in its own right. Stranger is a fine example of the more hard-boiled style in Forties mystery fiction ("California casualties in high chrome," as Kirkus Reviews alliteratively put it).
As the foreword to the novels notes, the Sanders mysteries "had an important precursor in Gypsy Rose Lee's The G-String Murders (1941)," a bestselling mystery novel with a celebrity author/narrator (it has been claimed that Craig Rice ghosted Lee's novel as well, though this claim has been disputed by others). Together with the Sanders tales and Mother Finds a Body (1942), Lee's own follow-up to her hugely successful first mystery, these works constitute notable examples of the modern celebrity novel.
Both George Sanders mysteries are now available on Kindle from Amazon and Amazon.com. Dean Street Press has some other interesting classic crime authors in the queue, some of whose books will be available in both paper and electronic versions; and I will be discussing another one of them later today, as well as posting some more cover illustrations.