May 2014: Classic crime in the blogosphere

Where Danger Lives highlighted 50 great noir posters from Republic Pictures

Where Danger Lives highlighted 50 great noir posters from Republic Pictures. This one just gets odder the more you look at it.

Well, I haven’t managed many book reviews this month (big fat zero), but fortunately the rest of the internet has picked up my slack. There are some great posts out there in the blogosphere; here are just a few of them.

Andrew Nette of Pulpcurry wrote a fascinating piece on June Wright, author of Murder in the Telephone Exchange and apparently a refreshingly wry figure.

Responding to one reporter who quizzed her on how a mother could use Who Would Murder a Baby? as the title for her second book, she quipped, ‘Obviously, you know nothing of the homicidal instincts sometimes aroused in a mother by her children. After a particularly exasperating day, it’s a relief to murder a few characters in your books instead.’

Andrew goes on to consider how Wright came to slip into obscurity in the context of the Australian crime fiction scene.

Staying down under, Pretty Sinister Books talked about another forgotten Australian writer.

Sometimes the discovery of a forgotten writer yields such a surprising variety of interesting work it’s both a blessing and a curse. Exhibit A: Sidney Hobson Courtier who later was published more simply as S.H. Courtier. With the exception of two books reissued by the independent Australian publisher Wakefield Press none of his books are in print and many of them are near impossible to get a hold of.

The Glass Spear is apparently both an effective mystery and an examination of the relationship between Aboriginal and European Australians.

Finnish pulp specialist Pulpetti continues to profile some equally obscure British crime writers, this month looking at Sean Gregory …

…he wrote some short paperbacks for the Tit-Bits Books paperback series in the early 1950s. (At least I think they were paperbacks, but I’m not 100 % certain. Hope someone can confirm this. I believe the books accompanied the issues of the Tit-Bits magazine.)

and Kenneth Royce.

He writes in clear prose that keeps the story moving, he creates interesting characters with just a few lines, they are likable even though they are not heroes, his plots are unpredictable and original. Too bad he’s not very well known these days.


Curt at the Passing Tramp highlighted the lovely formalist book cover designs of Arthur Hawkins.

Finally, new reviews site Shiny New Books profiled Celia Fremlin.

Why on earth have we not heard of Celia Fremlin? Well, I certainly hadn’t until recently, and having discovered her brilliant ‘novels of domestic suspense’ through Faber Finds, I am genuinely amazed that she somehow dropped out of sight after her final novel was published in 1994. Born in 1914, in middle-class Middlesex, Fremlin was a bright girl who studied Classics at Oxford and worked during World War Two on the famous Mass Observation social anthropology project… The Hours Before Dawn (1959), won the American Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Crime Novel.  She went on to write another eighteen novels and short story collections, all of which Faber is now bringing out.

The 1963 challenge

Next month… I thought I’d try something different, if people are up for a challenge. I’ve picked a year at random and will focus on that year in my June round-up. The year, selected by one of the Minor Offences, will be 1963. Let me know if you’re going to play, I’d hate to miss anyone.

See also… (and do give me a shout if I’ve missed something)

Battered, Tattered, Yellowed and Creased

Beneath the Stains of Time

Bitter Tea and Mystery


The Broken Bullhorn

Classic Mysteries

Clothes in Books

Do You Write Under Your Own Name?

Fleur in her World

The Guardian


The History Girls

How Mysterious!

  • Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö’s Cop Killer (1974)

Ms Wordopolis Reads

My Reader’s Block




The Passing Tramp

A Penguin a Week

Pretty Sinister Books

Pulp Curry


Riding the High Country

Savvy Verse and Wit

  • Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (1938)

Shiny New Books

In So Many Words

Tipping my Fedora

Vintage Pop Fictions

Vulpes Libris


What Are You Reading For?


Creative Commons License
Past Offences by Rich Westwood is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

About pastoffences

Past Offences exists to review classic crime and mystery books, with ‘classic’ meaning books originally published before 1987.
This entry was posted in Classic crime round-up, Classic mystery book review, Information Received and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to May 2014: Classic crime in the blogosphere

  1. Thanks for the shoutout Rich, and the usual great roundup. I’d forgotten about the wonderful Celia Fremlin, I must see if she wrote anything in 1963. But I will definitely find something from that year and join in your meme.


  2. Jared says:

    I love this idea, and am pulling apart the shelves looking for some 1963 gems…


  3. Margot Kinberg says:

    Rich – Terrific roundup as ever! Lots for me to discover here.


  4. Keishon says:

    Thanks for the round up. I actually have the Celia Fremlin in my stacks. Hope to read it next month.


  5. sagustocox says:

    Thanks for including my review of Rebecca!


  6. sjhigbee says:

    Many thanks for the namecheck:). I love the idea of this blog and as I read a fair amount of crime in amongst my science fiction and fantasy, I’m now following your blog.


  7. sjhigbee says:

    Reblogged this on Brainfluff and commented:
    I love the idea behind this blog – reading and revewing classic crime written before 1987. So if you are a fan of those gems from the past, this is a wonderful resource. It didn’t hurt that the site namechecked my review of ‘Strong Poison’ by Dorothy L. Sayers, either!


  8. TracyK says:

    Thanks for including my review. I enjoyed Andrew Nette’s review of Murder in the Telephone Exchange and pre-ordered it immediately. I will definitely find something for 1963. That is a great challenge.


  9. John says:

    Thanks for including my review of THE GLASS SPEAR, Rich, along with the others in your monthly list. I’m a bit late to the party, but I’m in all the same. I’ll find a book from 1963 somehow and review it in the coming weeks.


  10. Jose Ignacio says:

    Rich, I’m currently reading The Spy Who Came in from the Cold as my contribution to the 1963 Challenge. Hope to have my review posted on Monday, 30 June, the latest.


  11. Pingback: Review: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré | The Game's Afoot

Make a statement...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s