5 Forthcoming Vintage Mystery Reprints I’m Excited About
With my week of leisure coming to an end and a bit of uncertainty about how much time I’ll have to blog over the next few months, I wanted to focus on something positive and think about the books I’m most looking forward to getting – even if it may be a while until I get to them.
Below are the five reprints I am most looking forward to seeing arrive on my doorstep – restricting myself to one title per imprint to spread the love around. The eagle-eyed among you may see a sixth title that goes beyond the brief but as it is clearly genre-related, I think it fits here all the same. Consider it a bonus pick!
Twice Round the Clock by Billie Houston
British Library Crime Classics – April 10, 2023 (UK)
It’s been a while since I have picked up anything new from the British Library Crime Classics range – mostly because I had cut back on importing copies from the UK and the US editions are released with a delay. I ended up breaking that self-imposed rule to get hold of John Dickson Carr’s The Black Spectacles for an upcoming book club. Of course, once you order one you might as well get a slightly bigger package…
Unlike some of the other upcoming titles, this one is completely unknown to me which adds intrigue for me. This novel, the only one by Houston, appears to be a country house mystery in which a scientist is murdered in his study during a house party. The most novel aspect of this book for me is its conscious playing with time, as suggested by its title, as apparently it will cover twelve hours of events leading up to the murder and twelve of investigation.
Death of a Stray Cat & An Affair of the Heart by Jean Potts
Stark House Mystery Classics – May 19, 2023
Last year I had my first encounter with Jean Potts and while I had a couple of reservations about a few aspects of that story, I was excited enough to go out and buy copies of each of the other reprint collections published by Stark House. This volume, published next month, is the next and offers up two more stories from the author, each containing elements that intrigue me.
Of the two, the one that appeals most to me from the description is An Affair of the Heart – a story in which an advertising agent is found dead from an apparent heart attack in his mistress’ apartment. The question is why he didn’t have his heart pills with him, particularly as he had recently survived a heart attack.
I find mysteries in which it’s not even initially clear that a murder has taken place at all to be interesting so I am really interested to see what Potts does with this premise. That I’ll get a second story into the bargain makes this all the more appealing!
The Thinking Machine by Jacques Futrelle
Library of Congress Crime Classics – June 6, 2023
Sometimes the joy of a reprint is getting access to a book that was completely inaccessible. Most of the time though, for me, it’s about getting it in the format you’d prefer to read.
Jacques Futrelle’s The Thinking Machine has long been in the public domain so this is not a case of the former. Instead what excites me here is getting a print edition that will have been properly proof-read. I am even quite looking forward to the footnotes which I know have been quite divisive with readers in previous publications.
As for what the book’s about – it’s a short story collection featuring a detective who solves crimes by the rigorous application of logic. I’ve never read it and I am aware that the quality is not entirely consistent but I will be excited to give it a try for myself.
The Devil’s Flute Murders by Seishi Yokomizo
Pushkin Vertigo – June 29, 2023 (UK), July 4, 2023 (US)
While I haven’t quite got around to reading all of the Yokomizo novels I have on my shelf, I have been really excited by these new translations from Pushkin Vertigo. I am likely to tackle the next one, The Devil’s Flute Murders, before going back to the two I have yet to read because I find its premise pretty appealing.
The mystery takes place in the home of a brooding, troubled composer who has recently been found dead. His family have gathered to try to contact his spirit but when one of their number is found killed, Kosuke Kindaichi is called upon to investigate.
The chief appeal factor for me here is the idea referenced in one of the blurbs that the composer’s most famous piece is one that utterly chills all those who hear it. I am hoping that this leans into that sense of dread to create an atmospheric read. I am hoping to get to this one pretty quickly after publication!
Rim of the Pit by Hake Talbot
American Mystery Classics – October 3, 2023
Unlike the other titles on this list, I already own a copy of Hake Talbot’s Rim of the Pit. So, why am I excited to buy another one? Well, I think it boils down to formatting but also because knowing it will be widely available gives me that little extra push to settle down and read it. Why? Because it’s great to know that when you are done reading it that others will be able to do so as well and you can talk with others about it.
The book is a highly recommended example of the impossible crime story, set in the snowy wilds of New England. It features a séance to contact the dead husband of the medium but things seem to go wrong with the dead man’s spirit apparently inhabiting the body of one of the guests.
There’s lots to interest me here but if there’s one element that particularly grabs me it’s the evocation of the supernatural. After several years of reading people rave about this (it was second in the 1981 Locked Room Library list), I am excited to finally get around to reading this for myself.
How to Survive a Classic Crime Novel by Kate Jackson
British Library Publishing – June 8, 2023 (UK)
Those who have been counting carefully will note that this is the sixth book on my list which basically means it’s an extra. The reason is that it isn’t a reprint but rather an original humorous work discussing the lessons that can be learned from reading lots of vintage mysteries. And, for those who are unaware, Kate Jackson (who blogs at Cross Examining Crime) is a prolific reader of vintage mysteries.
I’m looking forward to seeing what lessons Kate extracts from the books I have already read but also to learning about writers and novels that will be entirely new to me. From the blurb alone I already have found one I’m excited to read myself. This will be another case of a title that causes me to break my self-imposed “no imports” rule!
For more about this title check out Kate’s 1,500th blog post from a few months ago where she trails this title.
So, there you have the books I am most excited to get my hands on soon. What are you looking forward to?