I’ve not attended an Mystery Writers Of American Edgar A. Poe awards dinner in over a decade. So this article will be strictly about those years when I did attend–from 1994 to 2001. As I’ve written before, the Edgars are the highest honor given to a crime fiction author, like the Oscars, but with far less fanfare and categories. The evening begins with cocktails where everyone smoozes, checking out each other’s attire, and literary agents, guzzling concoctions from the open bar and afterward eating the nouveau cuisine as quickly as the microscopic fare is spooned in front of them. Attendees are assigned tables. The more important the nominee, or publisher, the closer to the awards area. If you are a fledgling author paying your own
One of the publishers from crime fiction’s past, was a little name that tried to become a bigger power among heavy hitters. Not necessarily known for their quality, they did try hard. They signed up some known authors whose contracts perhaps expired with other publishers, and some names never heard of before or since. Collectors drool over finding a nice Phoenix in near fine jacket. And not because the jacket art was all that compelling either. ABE has a little group of them for our perusal. I think the reason these are sought after is their relative scarcity in jacket. For years, a well known writer, Bill Pronzini, another author on my Best 100, has collected them, striving for better and better copies. One of my
I remembered why I didn’t read many crime novels by Margery Allingham. Of the books I’ve read so far, Her writing is gibberish to me. Excepting Traitor’s Purse, that is. That book is on my list for the very reason that it’s not remotely like any others she wrote. It’s straight forward, with regular language, no affectations, no upper class slang, no slightly comic protagonist. In that book, which is about amnesia, you are given the viewpoint from someone whose world is unknown, and in his finding the way back, you come to finally respect and understand Albert Campion. In the book preceding Traitor’s Purse, the subject matter is far less serious–the fashion industry and the dilettante upper echelon within that world. An self centered artfully
The title-The Disappearance of Mary Young doesn’t make sense to me. Mary Young doesn’t disappear. She’s murdered. And she’s murdered in public. In a dark ride at an amusement park outside of Philly PA. Which I know for a fact is based on a real park called Willow Grove. My dad used to take the trolly up to it frequently in the 30s, and my mother thinks she has vague memories of doing the same. The park was fairly large, and had the super rides other amusement places ballyhooed–like Coney Island and the Palisades. The particular ride author Milton Propper chose to have Mary die in, consists of a fake mountain, with a roller coaster within. There are few of these types of rides left.
When did the powers that be decide that trade paperbacks were the right way to go? I understand why authors would welcome this format–I would gather that the more expensive the work, the more royalties paid. Mass market paperbacks give little return for the author. And maybe, maybe the print is larger, although, I’ve not seen much difference. Trade paperbacks, as I remember them from my ancient days of book-selling, were reserved for weighty novels, or works of nonfiction or biographies, and classics. Now, any romance, or teen vampire title is produced in this format. Begging the question why? Except, it’s a no brainer why. More money in the publishers’ coffers. The sum of money demanded for a mass market paperback is steep, but the