MAGIC AND MYSTERY AND TOURS
by Steven Steinbock
By the time this column is posted at Criminal Brief, I’ll be across the country in Carmel, California, where I’m doing a speaking gig. As I am typing this, it’s just twelve hours from when my plane takes off, and I still have to finish packing and get some sleep.
I’m looking forward to the trip. It’s been a long winter here in Maine. It’s been above freezing most of the time. I can finally see all the shingles on my roof, and I’m beginning to see patches of lawn beneath the snow. California will be nice.
This past week, two exciting things came across my desk. The first was an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of A Prisoner of Memory and 24 of the Year’s Finest Crime and Mystery Stories edited by Ed Gorman and Martin Greenberg. The book is dedicated to Ed Hoch, and contains a very nice introduction, covering the year in mystery (novels, stories, movies, awards, and more) written by regular Criminal Brief visitor Jon Breen. I was a little startled to see that the Obituaries section was written by Ed Hoch. Sadly ironic. Mike Nevins provided a very nice, thoughtful and touching tribute to Ed that was included just before the obituaries.
The stories in this volume look really nice (even though none of my Criminal Brief colleagues are represented). The title story is by Robert Levinson, and originally appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. There’s an odd, unintentional theme running through the book: three of the stories have the word “Dog” in the title. One of them is Dick Lochte’s “Devil Dog.”
The other exciting thing that arrived is the June issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, which features Ed Hoch on the cover, and a nice tribute section inside, with Janet Hutchings and various friends and colleagues of Ed providing memories. If you pick up a copy, you’ll find my little paragraph at the tail end of the section.
Finally, I’m happy to report that Rue Morgue Press (Tom and Enid Schantz) has published the first two “Tommy Hambleton” novels by Manning Coles. They’ve had the “Latimers” novels (comedy adventures featuring a pair of ghosts) in print for a while. Manning Coles, if I haven’t said it here before, was the penname of Adelaide Frances Oke Manning and Cyril Coles, neighbors in East Meon, Hampshire. The Tommy Hambleton novels are clever, light-spirited, and very well-written spy novels set primarily during WWII and its lead-up. (The first novel in the series, A Drink to Yesterday is set in the tail end of the First World War).
Perhaps in some future Bandersnatch, I’ll have time and space to share my thoughts on magic and mysteries, inspired by an article in the March 17 New Yorker. Till then, I’m off.