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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases 18 January 2017

2000AD Prog 2014
Judge Dredd: Deep In The Heart by Michael Carroll (w) Tiernen Trevallion (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Kingmaker by Ian Edginton (w) Leigh Gallagher (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Kingdom: As It Is In Heaven by Dan Abnett (w) Richard Elson (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
The Order:  Wyrm War by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hope: ...For The Future by Guy Adams (w) Jimmy Broxton (a) Simon Bowland (l)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Rebellion's 2017 graphic novel line-up

From boy wizards to future cops, from Martians trashing England to missions through post-apocalyptic landscapes – the 40th anniversary year of Britain’s biggest comic will be packed with incredible new collections!

2000 AD celebrates its birthday in February and this year’s slate of graphic novel releases showcases just some of the breadth and depth of four decades of groundbreaking and innovative comics.
Highlights of 2017 include the first ever collection of Alan McKenzie and John Ridgway’s The Journal of Luke Kirby – the boy wizard character that predated Harry Potter – as well as strong new characters such as Meta Lawson in Lawless: Welcome to Badrock, Dan Abnett and Phil Winslade’s fan favourite series about an off-world Judge doing things her own way with frontier justice.

Kek-W and legendary comics artist John Burns blaze through 10,000 years of history and combine a robotic knight, an ancient order of warriors, a young woman searching for the legacy of her father, and giant time-travelling worms in The Order.

John Wagner, Alan Grant, and Mick McMahon’s bleak post-apocalyptic The Last American returns to print for the first time in over a decade in April; and a brand new collection of Ian Edginton and D’Israeli’s Scarlet Traces kicks off both the year and the ongoing saga about the shocking aftermath of HG Wells’ War of the Worlds.

Fans of Britain’s biggest comics export, Judge Dredd, won’t be disappointed either, with Michael Carroll’s modern epic Every Empire Falls in January and new volumes of the bestselling Judge Dredd: The Complete Cases Files series in August and November, along with early cases from the life of psychic cop Judge Anderson in Alan Grant, Carlos Ezquerra, and Steve Yeowell’s Cadet Anderson: Teenage Kyx.

Being collected for the first time on both sides of the Atlantic in July is the latest comic based on the world of the 2012 movie DREDD, with Judge Anderson stepping into the limelight in Anderson: The Deep End by Alec Worley and Paul Davidson.

Most of 2017’s list will be available simultaneously in the UK, Ireland, and North America, but this year sees three dedicated Dredd titles for the US and Canadian market – Judge Dredd Case Files 13 and 14, and Judge Dredd: The Cape and Cowl Crimes, which collects the lawman’s deadly encounters with some of the most bizarre superpowered criminals you’ll ever meet!

2000 AD’s graphic novels are available to buy from all good book and comic book shops, as well as through 2000adonline.com, Amazon, and other online retailers. Digital copies can be purchased from the 2000 AD webshop as well as the 2000 AD apps for Apple, Android, and Windows 10 devices.
Retailers can order 2000 AD graphic novels through Harper Collins in the UK and Simon & Schuster in North America, as well as through Diamond Distribution. (Books given prices in both pounds and dollars will be available in both UK and USA, whilst some titles are UK or USA only.)

Please note: this list is of 2000 AD releases only, it does not include releases from the recently-acquired Fleetway/IPC archive, a schedule for which will be released in a few weeks time.


JANUARY

Cadet Anderson: Teenage Kyx by Alan Grant, Carlos Ezquerra, Patrick Goddard & Steve Yeowell
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08539-4, 12 January 2017, £14.99. Available from Amazon.
Judge Anderson's adventures as a cadet Judge on the mean streets of Mega-City One, collected for the first time! When the psychically powerful 3-year-old Cassandra Anderson killed her abusive father, she was taken into the custody of Justice Department, who blocked the memories of her traumatic childhood. Inducted into the Psi-Division as a cadet, where the Judges use telepaths, empaths, precogs, and others with psychic abilities to aid the fight against crime, Anderson is thrown in the deep end as she faces up to the worst Mega-City One has to offer.

The Complete Scarlet Traces volume 1 by Ian Edginton & D'Israeli
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08501-1 (UK) / 978-1781-08502-8 (US), 12 January 2017, £15.99 / $19.99. Available from Amazon.
The celebrated comic book sequel to H.G. Well's The War of the Worlds in a brand-new omnibus edition, complete with an adaptation of the original novel. Beginning with a visionary adaptation of the seminal novel, the collection also includes the first of three stories set a decade after the Martian invasion. Great Britain has cannibalized Martian technology and now Hansom cabs scuttle along on multi-limbed crab legs, and the Martian heat-ray has become the weapon with which the British Empire dominates the world. When the bodies of several young women are found washed up on the banks of the Thames, Captain Robert Autumn and his former Sergeant-Manjor Archie Currie are drawn into a mystery that leads them from gin palaces to the corridors of power and the very Hall of the Martian King.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 13 (USA) by John Wagner, Steve Yeowell, Will Simpson, Carlos Ezquerra & Chris Weston
ISBN 978-1781-08498-4, 12 January 2017, $25. Available from Amazon.
Mega-City One 2111AD, and the streets are awash with crime perpetrated by all manner of rogue citizens, whether it be a murderous child genius or a super-intelligent rottweiler called Rex. There is a solution to this problem and his name is Judge Dredd. Judge, jury and executioner, Dredd is the ultimate future cop!
     This volume of the best-selling Case Files series includes work by John Wagner, Alan Grant, John Higgins, Colin MacNeil and many more – and features key stories in the character's development including A Letter To Judge Dredd and Young Giant.

FEBRUARY

Thrill Power Overload: Forty Years of 2000 AD by David Bishop and Karl Stock
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08522-6, February 2017, 320 pages, £35 /$45.00. Available from Amazon.
The definitive history of the most influential British comic ever! Updated, expanded and revised for 2000AD‘s 40th anniversary. From the comic’s humble and rocky beginnings to its current position as the Galaxy s Greatest comic, Thrill-Power Overload charts the incredible history of this ground-breaking comic. With exclusive interviews, hundreds of illustrations and rarely-seen artwork, former 2000AD editor, David Bishop and journalist Karl Stock, guide the reader through four decades of action, adventure, excitement and the occasional editorial nightmare!
    Told by the people who were there, this is the definitive history of the comic that launched a thousand talents including legends such as John Wagner, Pat Mills, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Carlos Ezquerra, Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons, Mick McMahon, Grant Morrison, Kevin O’Neill, Simon Bisley and continues with 21st Century breakthrough talents such as Jock, Rob Williams, Andy Diggle, Al Ewing, Henry Flint, Frazer Irving – and many many more.

2000 AD's Greatest: Celebrating 40 Years of Thrill-Power! by John Wagner, Alan Grant, Rob Williams, Steve MacManus, Kevin O’Neill, Pat Mills, Malcom Shaw, John Smith (w), Duncan Fegredo, Brian Bolland, Carlos Ezquerra, Dylan Teague, Kevin O’Neill, Colin Wilson, Steve Dillon, John Burns, Chris Weston (a)
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08540-0, February 2017, 122 pages, £12.99. Available from Amazon.
From humorously twisted Future Shocks to the dystopian escapades of Judge Dredd2000AD has inspired generations of readers and has spawned some of the greatest talents in the comics industry.
To celebrate the creative droids behind the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic, a selection of writers and artists from across 2000AD’s forty-year history were asked to choose their favourite one-off story by a fellow creator and explain why they chose it. The result is this incredible anthology featuring work by Alan Grant, Kevin O’Neill, Rob Williams, Brian Bolland, Chris Weston and Steve Dillon selected by creators such as founding editor Pat Mills, celebrated artist Jock and recent newcomer Tom Foster.

Judge Dredd: Every Empire Falls by Michael Caroll (w), Paul Davidson, Colin MacNeil, Henry Flint, PJ Holden, Carlos Ezquerra (a), Chris Blythe, Adam Brown (c), Annie Parkhouse (l)
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08531-8, February 2017, 240 pages, £19.99 / $25. Available from Amazon.
R.I.P. JUDGE DREDD?
Following the decimation of Mega-City One during Chaos Day, Judges from other friendly Justice Departments have been brought in to strengthen the ranks and help maintain law and order on the streets. Amongst the newcomers is Fintan Joyce son of a former Emerald Isle Judge, who teamed up with Judge Dredd in one of the most fondly remembered Dredd stories. Exploiting the Big Meg’s weakened state, several groups have risen up against the Judges, including the Goblin King’s Undercity army and a mutant group lead by the monstrous Thorn, who have been attacking Cursed Earth outposts. If things couldn t get any worse, Dredd has fallen foul of Brit-Cit and they want him in prison or on a slab! Have the odds finally stacked up enough to spell the end of Mega-City One s greatest lawman?

MARCH

The Order: Die Mensch Maschine by Kek-W (w), John Burns (a), Annie Parkhouse, Ellie De Ville (l)
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08527-1, March 2017, 128 pages, £14.99 / $20. Available from Amazon.
In 13th Century Germany, while reading the papers of her dead father young Anna Kohl uncovers a shocking secret – that defending Earth from an other-worldly menace is a secret cadre of warriors known only as The Order. Now she, and her father’s rag-tag former comrades, must do battle with the sinister forces of these eldritch creatures!
From Teutonic Knights with robot heads to gun-toting warriors in high speed pursuits on the streets of Elizabethan Engand, The Order is an incredible genre mash-up of medieval and Renaissance history, action movies, Michael Moorcock, Jack Vance, and Hammer Horror!

Kingdom: Aux Drift by Dan Abnett (w), Richard Elson (a), Abigail Ryder (c), Simon Bowland and Ellie De Ville (l)
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08528-8, March 2017, 144 pages, £15.99 / $21.99. Available from Amazon.
In the far future, mankind has been all but destroyed and survivors are forced to hide from ‘Them’ – giant insectile creatures that have taken over the world – with only savage genetically engineered dog-soldiers like Gene the Hackman to guard them. Having travelled the Earth without his pack, Gene now leads a band of mongrel “aux” warriors known as the Wild Bunch. They live alongside some human survivors in The Kingdom. But ‘Them’ are growing in number and the Kingdom is getting harder to defend…

APRIL

Judge Dredd: The Cape and Cowl Crimes (US edition) by John Wagner, Alan Grant, Andy Lanning, Steve White, Robbie Morrison, Simon Spurrier, Alec Worley (w), Eric Powell, Alan Davis, Simon Bisley, Carlos Ezquerra, and Ben Willsher, Mike Collins, Dermot Power, Richard Elson, Paul Marshall (a), Chris Blythe (c), Tom Frame, Annie Parkhouse, Sam Gretton (l)
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08525-7, April 2017, 160 pages, $19.99. Available on Amazon.
COSTUMES ARE FOR CREEPS! From super-powered aliens to Cursed Earth mutants, Judge Dredd dishes out justice to all in this action-packed collection of stories from some of comic’s biggest talents.
    There are plenty of law-breaking freaks amongst the citizenship of the Big Meg. From Futsies to Umpty-baggers, the Judges have their hands full. But the worst offenders are those who try and enforce their own brand of justice. Especially that strange strain of vigilante who chooses to hit the streets in brightly-coloured spandex!

The Last American by John Wagner & Alan Grant (w), Mick McMahon (a), Phil Felix (l)
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08544-8, April 2017, 144 pages, £17.99 / $24. Available from Amazon.
Twenty years after a global nuclear war destroyed the world, Captain Ulysses Pilgrim is woken from suspended animation by three military robot aides.  Selected by his superiors to survive the initial onslaught, Pilgrim now has one last mission; to scour through post-holocaust U.S.A. in the search for other survivors.

MAY

Summer Magic: The Complete Journal of Luke Kirby by Alan McKenzie (w), John Ridgeway, Steve Parkhouse, Graham Higgins, Tim Perkins, Nick Abazis (a), Gina Hart, Tim Perkins (c), Annie Parkhouse, Ellie De Ville, Steve Potter, Gary Gilbert, (l)
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08541-7, May 2017, 288 pages, £19.99 / $25.

Sláine: The Brutania Chronicles Book Three by Pat Mills (w), Simon Davis (a), Ellie De Ville (l)
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08546-2 (hc), May 2017, 96 pages, £15.99.
Albion, in a time of legend. Celtic warrior SL ÁINE united the tribes of the Earth Goddess Danu and became the first High King of Ireland, before returning to being a wanderer. Now, having journeyed to the Isle of Monadh to rescue Sinead from the Drune Lords, he’s discovered that they have been experimenting on their own creations — including the brutal, superhuman Primordial, whom Sláine has just learnt is his old friend Gort…

JUNE

The Complete Skizz by Alan Moore & Jim Baikie (w), Jim Baikie (a), Tony Jacob (l)
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08542-4, June 2017, 240 pages, £19.99 / $25. Available from Amazon.
The ultimate illegal alien! Alan Moore’s out of print classic returns in a brand new complete collection!
    When Interpreter Zhcchz of the Tau-Ceti Imperium crashed his ship into the small blue Hellworld -classed planet, the odds of surviving were stacked against him. Stranded in the polluted, hostile British city of Birmingham, ‘Skizz’ is befriended by Roxy, a plucky young local girl. But danger is ever present – from bad food to Prime Minister Thatcher’s hostile government alien-hunters, this E.T. may soon be R.I.P!

Lawless: Welcome to Badrock by Dan Abnett (w), Phil Winslade (a), Ellie De Ville (l)
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08543-1, June 2017, 128 pages, £14.99.

JULY

Absalom: Under A False Flag by Gordon Rennie (w), Tiernen Trevallion (a), Simon Bowland (l)
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08545-5, July 2017, 128 pages, £12.99.

Anderson: The Deep End by Alec Worley (w), Paul Davidson (a), Simon Bowland (l)
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08553-0, July 2017, 96 pages, £12.99 / $17.99. Available from Amazon.
When the dust settles… the bodycount rises! Continuing the story of the cult 2012 movie DREDD.
After the brutal day in which Ma Ma and her gang were brought down telepath-Judge Anderson is trying to adjust to the brutal life of a Street Judge. After investigating a claim of demonic possession, she finds herself at odds with a merciless drug cartel.
    Soon after, when lethal radioactive storms from the post-apocalyptic wasteland known as the CursedEarth hit the city, they bring more than just dust into Mega-City One.When unexplained killings coincide with the storms, Judge Dredd is forced to hunt a mysterious mutant and take his ruthless brand of justice into the Cursed Earth.

AUGUST

Judge Dredd: Case Files 14 (US edition) by John Wagner (w), Will Simpson, Carlos Ezquerra, Jeff Anderson (a), Tom Frame (l)
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08547-9, August 2017, 272 pages, $25.
The Big Meg is under siege from the Dark Judges and the Sisters of Death. Meanwhile Judge Dredd has been exiled to the harsh wastelands of the Cursed Earth and time is running out for the citizens he once swore to protect. With the body-count rising, will Dredd be able to return in time to stop the utter annihilation of the city!?”

Judge Dredd: Case Files 29 by John Wagner, John Wagner, Pat Mills, Alan Grant, Dan Abnett, Mark Millar, Robbie Morrison, Jim Alexander, Andrew Cartmel, John Smith, Alan Barnes, Paul Neal, Tony Skinner (w), John Burns, Jason Brashill, Cliff Robinson, Simon Jacob, Anthony Williams, Steve Yeowell, Carlos Ezquerra, Colin Macneil, Lee Sullivan, Ashley Sanders, Simon Davis, Paul Marshall, Tom Carney, Maya Gavin, Dean Ormston, Ray Bryant, Marc Wigmore (a)
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08548-6, August 2017, 288 pages, £19.99. Available from Amazon.
The war on crime gets tougher, as the Justice Department (after Dredd’s approval) unveil the brand new Lawgiver Mark II firearm!

SEPTEMBER

Survival Geeks by Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby (w), Neil Googe (a), Gary Caldwell (c), Annie Parkhouse, Ellie De Ville (l)
Rebellion ISBN 9781781085547, September 2017, 112 pages, £12.99 / $17.99. Available from Amazon.
Survival Geeks, a media-savvy sci-fi adventure! A parody of contemporary geek culture, for fans of Fanboys and Scott Pilgrim.
    When Sam wakes up in the house of a group of sci-fi fans, she becomes their reluctant new housemate… after the house turns out to be a piece of misfiring trans-dimensional technology!
    The house takes them to places where no two-up two-down terraced house has gone before, from steampunk worlds to Lovecraftian elder gods. Armed only with their wits (and Star Wars trivia) the group of misfits must survive in whatever horrifying dimension or alternate reality they find themselves hurled into!
    An affectionate parody of the most popular geek cultures, this quirky comedy adventure features steampunks, dark lords and cuddly Lovecraftian horrors.

Brink by Dan Abnett (w), I.N.J. Culbard (a), Simon Bowland (l)
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08550-9, September 2017, 96 pages, £12.99 / $17.99. Available from Amazon.
Humanity is on the brink in this atmospheric space-noir from hit comics duo Dan Abnett and INJ Culbard.
    Late 21st century and Earth has been reduced to an uninhabited wasteland. What was left of humanity was evacuated into overpopulated space stations, or Habitats . A hotbed for crime and strange new religious sects, the Habitat Security Division has no shortage of work. No-nonsense Investigator Bridget Kurtis soon finds herself embroiled in a life or death struggle with a sinister cult and what she uncovers has disturbing implications for the future of the human race…

OCTOBER

The Complete Future Shocks, Volume 1 by Various creators
Rebellion, October 2017, 320 pages, TBC.

Scarlet Traces Volume 2 by Ian Edginton (w), D’israeli (a), Annie Parkhouse (l)
Rebellion, October 2017, 320 pages, TBC.

NOVEMBER

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 30 by Various creators
Rebellion, November 2017, 288 pages, £19.99/ $25.

DECEMBER

The Fall of Deadworld by Kek-W (w), Dave Kendall (a), Annie Parkhouse (l), Ellie De Ville (l)
Rebellion, December 2017, 144 pages, £19.99 / $25.

M.A.C.H.1 – The John Probe Mission Files by Various creators
Rebellion, December 2017, 176 pages, TBC.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Gary Gibson cover gallery

Angel Stations (London, Macmillan/Tor, 2004)
Tor/Pan Macmillan 1405-03445-9, (Oct) 2004, 392pp, £10.99 [tpb]. Cover by Steve Rawlings
Tor 0330-42017-8, (Jul) 2004, 552pp, £6.99. Cover by Steve Rawlings
Tor 978-1447-22412-9 (Jun) 2013, 552pp, £8.99. Cover by Steve Stone

Against Gravity (London, Macmillan/Tor, 2005)
Tor/Pan Macmillan 1405-03446-7, (Aug) 2005, 378pp, £10.99 [tpb]. Cover by Steve Rawlings
Tor/Pan Macmillan 0330-42018-6, 524pp, £6.99. Cover by Steve Rawlings
Tor 978-0230-76355-5, (Aug) 2011, 384pp, £14.99 [tpb]. Cover by Steve Stone
Tor 978-1447-33413-6, (Jun) 2013, 523pp, £8.99. Cover by Steve Stone

Stealing Light (London, Macmillan/Tor, 2007)
Tor 978-1405-09189-3, (Oct 2007), 388pp, £?.?? [tpb]. Cover by Lee Gibbons
Tor 978-0330-44596-2, (Jun) 2008, 603pp, £6.99. Cover by Lee Gibbons
Tor 978-1447-22409-9, (May) 2013, 603pp, £8.99. Cover by Steve Stone

Nova War (London, Macmillan/Tor, 2009)
Tor 978-0330-45675-3, (Jul) 2010, 568pp, £7.99. Cover by Lee Rawlings
Tor 978-1447-22410-5, (May) 2013, 568pp, £8.99. Cover by Steve Stone

Empire of Light (London, Macmillan/Tor, 2010)
Tor 978-0330-45676-0, (Aug) 2011, 544pp, £7.99. Cover by Lee Gibbons
Tor 978-1447-22411-2, (May) 2013, 564pp, £8.99. Cover by Steve Stone

Final Days (London, Macmillan/Tor, 2011)
Tor 978-0330-51969-4, 2011, 372pp, £7.99. Cover by Steve Stone

The Thousand Emperors (London, Macmillan/Tor, 2012)
Tor 978-0330-51972-4, 2013, 357pp, £8.99. Cover by Steve Stone

Marauder (London, Tor, 2013)
Tor 978-0330-51984-7, (Jul) 2014, 384pp, £8.99. Cover by Steve Stone

Extinction Game (London, Macmillan/Tor, 2014)
Tor 978-0230-77272-4, (Sep) 2014, 400pp, £13.99 [tpb]. Cover by Steve Stone
Tor 978-1447-24272-7, 2015, £8.99. Cover by Steve Stone

Survival Game (London, Tor, Aug 2016)
Tor 978-0230-77280-9, (Aug) 2016, 352pp, £13.99.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Comic Cuts - 13 January 2017

The cold I picked up at new year has been shared around quite a few folks who were at the same party. It flourished over Wednesday through Sunday and then started to recede. It's Thursday night now, and I think I can safely say it has now gone. Aside from the blocked up nose, the worst aspect was waking up at two and four in the morning. Exhausted, I flaked out on Sunday and didn't wake up until 10 in the morning. For someone who is usually up before 7, that's late. I haven't slept in that late since my twenties, and back then it was alcohol-fuelled hangovers I woke up to, not sinus headaches. Happy days...!

In need of some cheering up during the week, I received a real treat as The Art of Reginald Heade arrived. I immediately took a four hour lunchbreak to read it and I can heartily recommend it. It's a beautiful book. I'll review it properly first chance I get. In the meantime, here's the cover. You can buy the book directly from Telos. While you're there, you can pick up a copy of The Trials of Hank Janson dirt cheap... it has some bits about Heade not included in Stephen Walker's book.

I've also blew some of my Christmas money on a couple of books: The Avengers Steed and Mrs Peel The Comic Strips, published by Big Finish to tie in with their Avengers audio dramas. And the very last Lone Pine novel by Malcolm Saville, reprinted by Girls Gone By, which now completes the set.

The Avengers Steed and Mrs Peel The Comic Strips contains eight strips reprinted from Diana, the DC Thomson girls' comic from the 1960s which is famous – amongst the small number of people who have copies in their collections, that is – for some beautifully-painted colour strips with artwork by the likes of John Burns. The Avengers appeared in 1966-67 in a series of 3- and 4-part stories with art by Emilio Frejo and Juan Gonzalez Alacreu, two superb Spanish artists of the Valencian school. Both artists knew how to capture a likeness, so Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg are instantly recognisable throughout.

If I have any complaints its simply that the pages have been reduced in size for the reprint, which made the panels difficult to read without the aid of a magnifying glass – maybe not a problem for people with 20/20 vision but I don't suppose I'm the only person wanting to read this that getting not only a bit long in the tooth, but a bit short sighted, too. I've only read a couple of the stories so far, and they're slight, being so short, but enjoyable. You can order the book from Amazon.

Peter Weston died on 5 January, aged 73, after battling cancer for three years. Weston was a long-time SF fan, editing some of the most fondly remembered fanzines published in the UK during the 1960s, Zenith and Speculation, and co-founding the Birmingham Science Fiction Group. He was Chairman of Seacon '79, the World SF Convention – my first convention. Outside of SF, Weston was the owner of a car-parts manufacturing company which, from 1984, made the rockets handed out at the Hugo Awards. After a break of many years he penned an entertaining autobiography of his life in fandom, With Stars in My Eyes (2004) and subsequently launched Prolapse (later Relapse), which included contributions about the history of British SF fandom from many Big Name Fans.

My first encounter with his work was the anthology series Andromeda, which was published by Futura (Orbit) in 1976-78, which are our random scans for the week. The first two volumes are almost still in as good condition as they were when I bought them in 1976 and 1977. I never did see the third volume in the local shops, although eventually I managed to pick up a copy at a sale when Chelmsford Library was selling off some of its damaged stock. The sticky plastic that they covered their paperbacks with was badly damaged, so I removed it entirely... taking some of the cover with it. I've cleaned it up the best I can but it isn't perfect. I'm not sure who painted the first one, but the second is Bob Layzell and the third is Gino D'Achille. The last image is a dustjacket that was dummied up in the style of an old pulp magazine for copies of Weston's autobiography, which was originally issued without a d/j.

 
 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Commando issues 4983-4986

Commando issues on sale 12th January 2017.

Commando – 4983 – The Sentinel
Over thousands of years ago, the Tyrrhenian horde besieged the tiny island of Rhodes. Although the Rhodian warriors were outnumbered, they were not afraid, as they were led by their General Theron and his friend, Nereus. But little did Theron know, his biggest enemy slept within the confines of his own camp.
    By 1942, Theron had become a legend – the location of his tomb a mystery that plagued archaeologist Gennaro Soccino. Conscripted into the Italian army stationed in Rhodes, Soccino became obsessed with finding the resting place of Theron and… The Sentinel.

Story: Steve Coombs
Art: Morahin
Cover: Ian Kennedy

Commando – 4984 – The One They Couldn’t Catch
Moto the Clown paused, sweat running from his face. He was about to walk along a steel wire, fifty feet above ground, suspended between two giant pylons. This had always been the climax of his circus act.
    But Moto wasn’t in the circus ring now. This time there would be no applause from the audience. The only sounds he could expect to hear was the harsh crackle of Schmeisser machine-pistols.

Introduction
This unusual outing from October 1967 is a little different from a traditional Commando adventure, which is what makes it such a rare gem worthy of another airing! While the story about a clown who joins the army does push the boundaries a smidge, how many other Commandos could boast such a plotline? A marvellous script, art – Sostres’ interior line work is simply spectacular – and Ken Barr’s whimsical yet enticing cover combine seamlessly to create this delightfully zany yarn.—The Commando Team

Story: Powell
Art: Sostres
Cover: Ken Barr
The One They Couldn’t Catch, originally Commando No 289 (October 1967)

Commando - 4985 – Mountain Strike
Lieutenant Alan Barkley was tasked with assembling a team to embark on a special ground mission, deep behind enemy lines in Burma. These soldiers would face gruelling conditions, putting their skills to the test, all whilst carrying a 3.7 inch calibre howitzer up treacherous mountain peaks.
    Rookie medic, Ben Ellis, did not expect to be enlisted for this task, and his fellow soldiers questioned his capabilities. But they soon found that venturing into enemy territory with a deadly weapon in tow takes courage and cunning to survive.

Story: Ferg Handley
Art: Jaume Forns
Cover: Janek Matysiak

Commando - 4982 – Very Important Passenger
Ferrying a V.I.P. to England from North Africa might sound like a simple enough mission, but not when it’s a worn-out old bomber only fit for the scrapheap that you’re given to do the job.
    And it doesn’t help when your Very Important Passenger panics at the first sign of an enemy aircraft… or when he pulls out a revolver and points it at your head!

Introduction
Accusations, air raids and an unpredictable passenger creates the foundations for this soaring tale. Despite completing dangerous air missions, transporting an unusual stranger may just be Frank Roach’s most difficult challenge yet. A tale of trust, filled with action from start to finish, Very Important Passenger is brought to life by Terry Patrick’s wonderful artwork.
    Sit back and enjoy as we take to the skies with Frank “Finny” Roach and Sergeant Judd Stott in K.P. MacKenzie’s high-flying adventure.—The Commando Team.

Story: K.P. MacKenzie
Art: Terry Patrick
Cover: Terry Patrick
Very Important Passenger, originally Commando No 2453 (March 1991)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion Releases 11-12 January 2017.

2000AD Prog 2013
Judge Dredd: Deep In The Heart by Michael Carroll (w) Tiernen Trevallion (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Kingmaker by Ian Edginton (w) Leigh Gallagher (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Kingdom: As It Is In Heaven by Dan Abnett (w) Richard Elson (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
The Order:  Wyrm War by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hope: ...For The Future by Guy Adams (w) Jimmy Broxton (a) Simon Bowland (l)

Cadet Anderson: Teenage Kyx by Alan Grant, Carlos Ezquerra, Patrick Goddard & Steve Yeowell
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08539-4, 12 January 2017, £14.99. Available from Amazon.
Judge Anderson's adventures as a cadet Judge on the mean streets of Mega-City One, collected for the first time! When the psychically powerful 3-year-old Cassandra Anderson killed her abusive father, she was taken into the custody of Justice Department, who blocked the memories of her traumatic childhood. Inducted into the Psi-Division as a cadet, where the Judges use telepaths, empaths, precogs, and others with psychic abilities to aid the fight against crime, Anderson is thrown in the deep end as she faces up to the worst Mega-City One has to offer.

The Complete Scarlet Traces volume 1 by Ian Edginton & D'Israeli
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08501-1 (UK) / 978-1781-08502-8 (US), 12 January 2017, £15.99 / $19.99. Available from Amazon.
The celebrated comic book sequel to H.G. Well's The War of the Worlds in a brand-new omnibus edition, complete with an adaptation of the original novel. Beginning with a visionary adaptation of the seminal novel, the collection also includes the first of three stories set a decade after the Martian invasion. Great Britain has cannibalized Martian technology and now Hansom cabs scuttle along on multi-limbed crab legs, and the Martian heat-ray has become the weapon with which the British Empire dominates the world. When the bodies of several young women are found washed up on the banks of the Thames, Captain Robert Autumn and his former Sergeant-Manjor Archie Currie are drawn into a mystery that leads them from gin palaces to the corridors of power and the very Hall of the Martian King.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 13 (USA) by John Wagner, Steve Yeowell, Will Simpson, Carlos Ezquerra & Chris Weston
ISBN 978-1781-08498-4, 12 January 2017, $25. Available from Amazon.
Mega-City One 2111AD, and the streets are awash with crime perpetrated by all manner of rogue citizens, whether it be a murderous child genius or a super-intelligent rottweiler called Rex. There is a solution to this problem and his name is Judge Dredd. Judge, jury and executioner, Dredd is the ultimate future cop!
     This volume of the best-selling Case Files series includes work by John Wagner, Alan Grant, John Higgins, Colin MacNeil and many more – and features key stories in the character's development including A Letter To Judge Dredd and Young Giant.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Real Roy of the Rovers Stuff

Barrie Tomlinson joined Fleetway Publications back in 1961 and rose to become Group Editor in the late 1970s after nine years in the editorial seat on Tiger. During that period he grew to know all the ins and outs of Melchester Rovers' most famous star, the most famous footballer in the UK, Roy Race. It was his suggestion that Roy deserved his own title, and Roy of the Rovers was launched in 1976 with Tomlinson as editor.

Nobody is better placed to write about Roy's history during that period, and Barrie's book is an enjoyable romp through the many ways he tried to get Roy into the public eye through newspaper publicity and a clever use of celebrity endorsement. The debut issue of Roy of the Rovers was endorsed by no less a person than HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, who penned an article for that first number. Over the years Barrie had brought in some of the biggest celebrity names either on the pitch (England's World Cup-winning manager, Alf Ramsey, footballers Bobby Moore, Malcolm Macdonald and Bob Wilson, amongst many others, cricketers Geoff Boycott and Ian Botham, etc.) or off (Peter Sellers, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise) to write for and support both Tiger and Roy of the Rovers.

The additional publicity generated helped keep Roy in the papers and, therefore, reminded parents that he was still around. Comics were always seen as a parent-buy for their children and Roy's longevity meant that father's who had read the comic in the fifties could be buying the same title for their children to read in the seventies.

Just as unique amongst boys' comics, Roy of the Rovers was an ongoing soap-opera. While football may have been at its centre, the stories were built around Roy; the once eternally 29-year-old player began to grow older; he married, had children, suffered problems that affected his concentration and ability to play. Racey's Rocket would often win the day, but the skill of writers like Tom Tully was always to reflect real-world problems in the strip without letting up on the excitement on the pitch.

By mixing fact and fiction, stories were able to tackle hooliganism, Roy's family could cheer on the procession at the Royal Wedding of Charles and Di (Diana also being the name of Roy's third child, born around the same time as Prince William), and Penny could walk out on her famous husband. One of the most famous storylines of all, which left readers asking "Who shot Roy?", was inspired by the national attention a similar shooting had achieved in the end-of-season finale of TV series Dallas. Like "Who shot J.R.?", a number of suspects were introduced ahead of the shooting until the dramatic cover for 19 December 1981 saw Roy shot from off-panel. Inside were Get Well Soon messages from Trevor Francis, Terry O'Neill, Lawrie McMenemy and many other fellow footballers.

All this effort kept Roy in the spotlight for quite a few years whilst many contemporary papers were merged or simply folded. Tiger merged into Eagle in 1985, but Roy was able to sustain his own title until 1993. Roy himself has reappeared a number of times and any extraordinary action on the pitch will still earn a player comparison to Melchester Rovers' most famous son to this day.

Tomlinson's book covers this turbulent period of British comics, introducing some of the characters behind the scenes of the various comics he worked on and relating dozens of anecdotes about how he persuaded the likes of Sir Alf Ramsey to become a character within the story. He also covers turning Roy into the star of stamps, Roy's exploits in the Daily Star, the Tiger Sports Stars of the Year and many other aspects of the Roy story.

The book is packed with photos of Tomlinson meeting the many celebrities who populated the pages of Tiger and Roy of the Rovers. Perhaps the most interesting are to finally discover what his various sub-editors looked like (Ian Vosper, Paul Gettens) as photos of the real editors were almost unknown in comics that were "edited" by Tharg and Big E. Also the "before" photos of Tomlinson helping Suzanne Dando out of a sack is a treat as Roy's face was painted over the photograph when it originally appeared in Roy of the Rovers in 1982.

Hopefully this won't be the only time Barrie Tomlinson turns his attention back to his days at IPC Magazines. I'm sure there are many dozens of stories to be told about other titles he worked on, most notably the new Eagle and 2000AD.

Real Roy of the Rovers Stuff by Barrie Tomlinson. Pitch Publishing ISBN 978-1785-31212-0, October 2016, 192pp, £14.99. Available from Amazon.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Dan Dare: The 2000 A.D. Years Volume Two


Steve Winders reviews Rebellion’s second collection of Dan Dare reprints from 2000AD weekly in 1978 and ’79.

This book completes the collection of all 2000AD magazine’s strips and text stories featuring their version of the adventures of the space hero Dan Dare. In this second volume are the strips from the weekly comic running from February 1978 until August 1979, as well as two strips from the 2000AD Annual for 1979 and the Dan Dare Annual for 1980 and two text stories from the 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special from 1979 and the Dan Dare Annual for 1979. Most of the art from the weekly is by Dave Gibbons, whose sharp detailed artwork and expertise in conveying action make all the strips visually exciting. One serial is drawn by Brian Lewis and Trev Goring and Gary Leach share the work on another with Gibbons. The annual strips are drawn by Adrian Beeton and Dave Harwood, although both are ‘identified’ as anonymous in the book because the annuals did not carry writer and artist credits.

The first 163 pages complete the adventures of Dare and his crew on the Space Fort, exploring a mysterious region of space. There are seven stories ranging in length from two to seven episodes. These include one where the Fort encounters deadly plants which can take on human form; one set on a planet covered with water where Dare saves a race of intelligent beings from predators who are devouring the planet’s core and one set on an ice world where he rescues a space dwelling creature from entombment in a glacier. The Space Fort saga ends with a seven part story where Dan barely escapes with his life after losing both the Fort and his crew in a huge explosion that destroys the giant spacecraft that the Fort and many other ships have been pulled inside. The Space Fort stories were written by Gerry Finley-Day, Chris Lowder, Roy Preston and Nick Landau.

The next 128 pages, written by Tom Tully, cover a long continuous adventure with Dare’s old enemy the Mekon, who is now dying and desperate to steal the fabled rejuvenating ‘Crystal of Life’ which will restore him to health. He initially tricks Dan who has lost his memory into helping him, but Dan recovers and gains the ‘Cosmic Claw’, a gauntlet which gives him special powers that enable him to escape when on his return to Earth he is sentenced to death for aiding the Mekon.

At this point the story ends abruptly as it did in 2000AD An informative article by David McDonald explains why Dan never returned to the weekly and outlines the various plans that writers and editors had to complete the story. I was able to contribute a little to David’s research because a few months after the story ended I contacted Steve McManus, the 2000AD editor to enquire about its return. I was told of tentative plans to have Dan travel back in time to prevent the incident that caused the near death of the Eagle version of himself, which had led to him being placed in suspended animation and later reconstructed. The 2000AD Dan would die saving his original self, creating a temporal anomaly, but allowing the Eagle version to have new adventures.  A planned TV series based on the original was being developed at the time.

Of the Annual strips, Beeton’s is particularly interesting as he drew Dan’s face closely resembling the Eagle original and even sneaked a character who looked exactly like Digby into the story. This was clearly mischief on his part as he drew the Space Fort in accurate detail and produced good likenesses of the other regular characters from the Fort’s crew.

The book has an introduction by Garth Ennis who wrote his own version of Dan Dare for Virgin Comics a few years ago. Most Forewords are full of praise for the books they introduce, but while Ennis praises the Space Fort series, he heavily criticises the ‘Crystal of Life’ story, saying that the “storytelling rambles, with a great deal of sound and fury yielding very little by way of plot development.” While this is fair comment I actually enjoyed this long running narrative more than many of the short and often predictable Space Fort stories, but it is refreshing to read an Introduction which is honest in its appraisal.

The new book does not contain as many colour pages as its predecessor because more of the earlier episodes included colour, but there are more pages here and as in the first volume the reproduction quality is excellent. The cover has been illustrated by Ian Kennedy who produced some excellent work on yet another version of Dan Dare for the 1980s new Eagle, but apart from one 2000AD Annual story, which was included in the last book, he was not associated with the 2000AD version. Nevertheless his cover is well up to his usual standard, although his style is quite different from Dave Gibbons’ whose work dominates the book.

I can recommend this collection as I recommended its predecessor and Rebellion, the current publishers of 2000AD but not the owners of Dan Dare, deserve praise for producing these albums. The 2000 AD version did not please everyone, but it was a bold and exciting strip which contributed to the early success of the weekly and is fondly remembered by a generation of readers.

Dan Dare: The 2000AD Years Vol.2 by Chris Lowder, Gerry Finley-Day and Dave Gibbons. Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08460-1, 3 November 2016, £30. Available from Amazon.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

British Library Crime Classics Series

The British Library have been publishing a collection of classic crime novels of late which have proven surprisingly popular. Paul Gallagher highlighted the series in an article in The Independent back in December 2014, describing J. Jefferson Farjeon's Mystery In White: A Christmas Crime Story as a "Festive sleeper hit" that was selling in "astonishing numbers". According to Waterstones, it had outsold Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and Amazon had temporarily run out of stock the previous week due to surging demand.

The book had sold some 60,000 copies, accounting for 40 percent of sales for the whole series which, at that time, had reached 155,000. According to Joseph Knobbs of Waterstones, sales might reflect readers' yearning for genuine mysteries rather than darker, modern thrillers. "The Crime Classics stand out against the darker crop of contemporary crime fiction and offer something a bit different. A lot of modern stuff skews closer to thriller than mystery." Perhaps true. I think the British Library have made the series stand out with a selection of delightfully old-fashioned covers and with no Poirot or Marple on the TV at the moment, maybe readers who enjoy a cosy murder mystery are looking elsewhere for their devilishly clever locked-room killings and drawing room revelations. I hope the series continues for a long time to come.

Since the original publication of this checklist, the series has generated a spin-off, the British Library Classic Thrillers, which I'll list elsewhere.

The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Warren Adams
British Library 978-0712-25859-0, February 2012, 312pp, £8.99.
British Library 978-0712-35626-8, May 2015, 256pp, £8.99.
Detective fiction at its best, The Notting Hill Mystery was first published as an eight part serial between 1862 and 1863 in the magazine Once a Week, written under the pseudonym Charles Felix. It has been widely described as the first detective fiction novel, pre-dating as it does other novels such as Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone (1868) and Emile Gaboriau’s first Monsieur Lecoq novel (1869) that have previously claimed that accolade.
    The story is told by insurance investigator Ralph Henderson, who is building a case against the sinister Baron ‘R___’, suspected of murdering his wife in order to obtain significant life insurance payments. Henderson descends into a maze of intrigue including a diabolical mesmerist, kidnapping by gypsies, slow-poisoners, a rich uncle’s will and three murders. Presented in the form of diary entries, family letters, chemical analysis reports, interviews with witnesses and a crime scene map, the novel displays innovative techniques that would not become common features of detective fiction until the 1920s.
    Now made available again, with George du Maurier’s original illustrations included for the first time since the original serial publication, this new edition of The Notting Hill Mystery will be welcomed by all fans of detective fiction.

The Female Detective
British Library, 978-0712-35878-1, October 2012, 328pp, £8.99.
British Library 978-0712-35759-3, August 2014, 328pp, £8.99.
The Female Detective is the first novel in British fiction to feature a professional female detective. Written by Andrew Forrester, it was originally published in 1864. The protagonist is Miss Gladden, or 'G' as she is also known - the precursor to Miss Marple, Mma Ramotswe and Lisbeth Salander.
    Miss Gladden's deductive methods and energetic approach anticipate those of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, and she can be seen as beginning a powerful tradition of female detectives in these 7 short stories. 'G' uses similar methods to her male counterparts – she enters scenes of crime incognito, tracking down killers while trying to conceal her own tracks and her identity from others
    'G', the first female detective, does much physical detective work, examining crime scenes, looking for clues and employing all manner of skill, subterfuge, observation and charm solve crimes. Like Holmes, 'G' regards the regular constabulary with disdain. For all the intrigue and interest of the stories, little is ever revealed about 'G' herself, and her personal circumstances remain a mystery throughout. But it is her ability to apply her considerable energy and intelligence to solve crimes that is her greatest appeal, and the reappearance of the original lady detective will be welcomed by fans of crime fiction.

Revelations of a Lady Detective by William Stephens Hayward
British Library 978-0712-35896-5, February 2013, 320pp, £8.99.
`owing to frequent acquaintance with peril, I had become unusually hardened for a woman`
    Mrs Paschal is only the second ever professional female detective to feature in a work of fiction, pipped to the post by just 6 months by Andrew Forrester’s The Lady Detective (republished by The British Library in 2012). Both were published in 1864 and are of historical significance because for over 20 years they remained the only books to feature a female detective as the protagonist.
    Mrs Paschal, the heroine of Revelations of a Lady Detective, is regularly consulted by the police and serves as an undercover agent as well as investigating her own cases. She throws herself into cases with verve and gusto and has no hesitation in infiltrating a deadly society or casting off her crinolines in order to plummet into a sewer on the trail of a criminal.

Mr Bazalgette's Agent by Leonard Merrick
British Library 978-0712- 9, September 2013, 144pp, £6.99.
‘Here is a business where breeding must be a recommendation .... Here is a work where beauty is a passport’
    When Miriam Lea falls on hard times, an advertisement for private agents catches her eye, and within weeks she finds herself in Mr Bazalgette’s employ as a private detective, travelling on a train to Hamburg in pursuit of an audacious fraudster. What follows is a journey through some of the great cities of Europe – and eventually to South Africa - as Miss Lea attempts to find her man.
    Miriam Lea is only the third ever professional female detective to appear in a work of crime fiction. Originally published in 1888, Mr Bazalgette’s Agent presents a determined and resourceful heroine in the figure of Miss Lea, who grapples with some very modern dilemmas of female virtue and vice.
    Leonard Merrick said of the book, his first: ‘It’s a terrible book. It’s the worst thing I ever wrote. I bought them all up and destroyed them. You can’t find any.’ It seems Merrick was true to his word since copies of the book can now only be found in private collections and in a handful of university and national libraries throughout the world. This new edition offers the modern crime fiction fan an opportunity to rediscover an enticing and rare detective story.

The Santa Klaus Murder by Mavis Doriel Hay
British Library 978-0712-35712-8, November 2013, 288pp, £8.99.
British Library 978-0712-35630-5, October 2015, 288pp, £8.99. Cover by Seymour Snyder (Better Home & Gardens, December 1930)
Aunt Mildred declared that no good could come of the Melbury family Christmas gatherings at their country residence Flaxmere. So when Sir Osmond Melbury, the family patriarch, is discovered – by a guest dressed as Santa Klaus - with a bullet in his head on Christmas Day, the festivities are plunged into chaos. Nearly every member of the party stands to reap some sort of benefit from Sir Osmond’s death, but Santa Klaus, the one person who seems to have every opportunity to fire the shot, has no apparent motive.
    Various members of the family have their private suspicions about the identity of the murderer, and the Chief Constable of Haulmshire, who begins his investigations by saying that he knows the family too well and that is his difficulty, wishes before long that he understood them better. In the midst of mistrust, suspicion and hatred, it emerges that there was not one Santa Klaus, but two.

The Lake District Murder by John Bude
British Library 978-0712-35716-6, March 2014, 288pp, £8.99. Cover extract from L.N.E.R. poster (Ullswater) by John Littlejohns
Luke flung the light of his torch full onto the face of the immobile figure. Then he had the shock of his life. The man had no face! Where his face should have been was a sort of inhuman, uniform blank!
    When a body is found at an isolated garage, Inspector Meredith is drawn into a complex investigation where every clue leads to another puzzle: was this a suicide, or something more sinister? Why was the dead man planning to flee the country? And how is this connected to the shady business dealings of the garage?
    This classic mystery novel is set amidst the stunning scenery of a small village in the Lake District. It is now republished for the first time since the 1930s.

The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude
British Library 978-0712-35715-9, March 2014, 288pp, £8.99. Cover extract from G.W..R. poster (Cornwall) by Leonard Cusden
‘Never, even in his most optimistic moments, had he visualised a scene of this nature – himself in one arm-chair, a police officer in another, and between them… a mystery.’
    The Reverend Dodd, vicar of the quiet Cornish village of Boscawen, spends his evenings reading detective stories by the fireside – but heaven forbid that the shadow of any real crime should ever fall across his seaside parish. But the vicar’s peace is shattered one stormy night when Julius Tregarthan, a secretive and ill-tempered magistrate, is found at his house in Boscawen with a bullet through his head.
    The local police inspector is baffled by the complete absence of clues. Suspicion seems to fall on Tregarthan’s niece, Ruth – but surely that young woman lacks the motive to shoot her uncle dead in cold blood? Luckily for Inspector Bigswell, the Reverend Dodd is on hand, and ready to put his keen understanding of the criminal mind to the test. This classic mystery novel of the golden age of British crime fiction is set against the vividly described backdrop of a fishing village on Cornwall’s Atlantic coast. It is now republished for the first time since the 1930s, with a new introduction by Martin Edwards.

Death on the Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay
British Library 978-0712-35726-5, March 2014, 288pp, £8.99. Cover by (Mary Evans Pict. Lib.)
For Miss Cordell, principal of Persephone College, there are two great evils to be feared: unladylike behaviour among her students, and bad publicity for the college. So her prim and cosy world is turned upside down when a secret society of undergraduates meets by the river on a gloomy January afternoon, only to find the drowned body of the college bursar floating in her canoe.
    The police assume that a student prank got out of hand, but the resourceful Persephone girls suspect foul play, and take the investigation into their own hands. Soon they uncover the tangled secrets that led to the bursar’s death – and the clues that point to a fellow student.

Murder Underground by Mavis Doriel Hay
British Library 978-0712-35725-8, March 2014, 288pp, £8.99. Adapted from an illustration from The Book of Railways (c.1948)
‘This detective novel is much more than interesting. The numerous characters are well differentiated, and include one of the most feckless, exasperating and lifelike literary men that ever confused a trail.’ Dorothy L. Sayers, Sunday Times, 1934.
    When Miss Pongleton is found murdered on the stairs of Belsize Park station, her fellow-boarders in the Frampton Hotel are not overwhelmed with grief at the death of a tiresome old woman. But they all have their theories about the identity of the murderer, and help to unravel the mystery of who killed the wealthy ‘Pongle’. Several of her fellow residents – even Tuppy the terrier – have a part to play in the events that lead to a dramatic arrest.

A Scream in Soho by John G. Brndon
British Library 978-0712-35745-6, September 2014, 256pp, £8.99. Cover by (Mary Evans Pict. Lib.)
‘For a scream in the early hours of the morning in Soho, even from a female throat, to stop dead in his tracks a hard-boiled constable, it had to be something entirely out of the ordinary.’
    Soho during the blackouts of the Second World War. When a piercing scream rends the air and a bloodied knife is found, Detective Inspector MacCarthy is soon on the scene. He must move through the dark, seedy Soho underworld – peopled by Italian gangsters, cross-dressing German spies and glamorous Austrian aristocrats – as he attempts to unravel the connection between the mysterious Madame Rohner and the theft of secret anti-aircraft defence plans.

The Sussex Downs Mystery by John Bude
British Library 978-0712-35796-8, October 2014, 288pp, £8.99. Cover extract from Southern Railway poster (Seaford) by Leslie Carr
'Already it looked as if the police were up against a carefully planned and cleverly executed murder, and, what was more, a murder without a corpse!'
    Two brothers, John and William Rother, live together at Chalklands Farm in the beautiful Sussex Downs. Their peaceful rural life is shattered when John Rother disappears and his abandoned car is found. Has he been kidnapped? Or is his disappearance more sinister - connected, perhaps, to his growing rather too friendly with his brother's wife?
    Superintendent Meredith is called to investigate - and begins to suspect the worst when human bones are discovered on Chalklands farmland. His patient, careful detective method begins slowly to untangle the clues as suspicion shifts from one character to the next.

Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon
British Library 978-0712-35770-8, November 2014, 256pp, £8.99. Cover from Allers Familj-Journal (Sweden) 17 December 1919
The horror on the train, great though it may turn out to be, will not compare with the horror that exists here, in this house.’
    On Christmas Eve, heavy snowfall brings a train to a halt near the village of Hemmersby. Several passengers take shelter in a deserted country house, where the fire has been lit and the table laid for tea – but no one is at home.
     Trapped together for Christmas, the passengers are seeking to unravel the secrets of the empty house when a murderer strikes in their midst.

Murder in Piccadilly by Charles Kingston
British Library 978-0712-35795-1, January 2015, 320pp, £8.99. Cover extract from L.N.E.R. poster (London) by Fred Taylor
‘Scores of men and women died daily in London, but on this day of days one of them had died in the very midst of a crowd and the cause of his death was a dagger piercing his heart. Death had become something very real.’
    When Bobbie Cheldon falls in love with a pretty young dancer at the Frozen Fang night club in Soho, he has every hope of an idyllic marriage. But Nancy has more worldly ideas about her future: she is attracted not so much to Bobbie as to the fortune he expects to inherit.
    Bobbie’s miserly uncle Massy stands between him and happiness: he will not relinquish the ten thousand a year on which Nancy’s hopes rest. When Bobbie falls under the sway of the roguish Nosey Ruslin, the stage is set for murder in the heart of Piccadilly – and for Nancy’s dreams to be realised.
    When Chief Inspector Wake of Scotland Yard enters the scene, he uncovers a tangled web of love affairs, a cynical Soho underworld, and a motive for murder.

Capital Crimes ed. by Martin Edwards
British Library 978-0712-35749-4, March 2015, 320pp, £8.99.
With its fascinating mix of people – rich and poor, British and foreign, worthy and suspicious – London is a city where anything can happen. The possibilities for criminals and for the crime writer are endless. London has been home to many of fiction's finest detectives, and the setting for mystery novels and short stories of the highest quality.
    Capital Crimes is an eclectic collection of London-based crime stories, blending the familiar with the unexpected in a way that reflects the personality of the city. Alongside classics by Margery Allingham, Anthony Berkeley and Thomas Burke are excellent and unusual stories by authors who are far less well known. The stories give a flavour of how writers have tackled crime in London over the span of more than half a century. Their contributions range from an early serial-killer thriller set on the London Underground and horrific vignettes to cerebral whodunits. What they have in common is an atmospheric London setting, and enduring value as entertainment.

Antidote to Venom by Freeman Wills Crofts
British Library 978-0712-35779-1, April 2015, 288pp, £8.99.
'Mr Wills Crofts is deservedly a first favourite with all who want a real puzzle' – Times Literary Supplement 
'He always manages to give us something that really keeps us guessing' – Daily Mirror
    George Surridge, director of the Birmington Zoo, is a man with many worries: his marriage is collapsing; his finances are insecure; and an outbreak of disease threatens the animals in his care.
    As Surridge's debts mount and the pressure on him increases, he begins to dream of miracle solutions. But is he cunning enough to turn his dreams into reality – and could he commit the most devious murder in pursuit of his goals?
    This ingenious crime novel, with its unusual 'inverted' structure and sympathetic portrait of a man on the edge, is one of the greatest works by this highly respected author. The elaborate means of murder devised by Crofts's characters is perhaps unsurpassed in English crime fiction for its ostentatious intricacy.

The Hog's Back Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts
British Library 978-0712-35797-5, April 2015, 336pp, £8.99. Cover extract from Southern Railway poster (The Surrey Towns and North Downs) by Reginald Montague Lander
Dr James Earle and his wife live in comfortable seclusion near the Hog's Back, a ridge in the North Downs in the beautiful Surrey countryside. When Dr Earle disappears from his cottage, Inspector French is called in to investigate. At first he suspects a simple domestic intrigue - and begins to uncover a web of romantic entanglements beneath the couple's peaceful rural life. The case soon takes a more complex turn. Other people vanish mysteriously, one of Dr Earle's house guests among them. What is the explanation for the disappearances? If the missing people have been murdered, what can be the motive? This fiendishly complicated puzzle is one that only Inspector French can solve. Freeman Wills Crofts was a master of the intricately and ingeniously plotted detective novel, and The Hog's Back Mystery shows him at the height of his powers.

Resorting to Murder: Holiday Mysteries ed. by Martin Edwards
British Library 978-0712-35748-7, April 2015, 320pp, £8.99.
Holidays offer us the luxury of getting away from it all. So, in a different way, do detective stories. This collection of vintage mysteries combines both those pleasures. From a golf course at the English seaside to a pension in Paris, and from a Swiss mountain resort to the cliffs of Normandy, this new selection shows the enjoyable and unexpected ways in which crime writers have used summer holidays as a theme. These fourteen stories range widely across the golden age of British crime fiction. Stellar names from the past are well represented - Arthur Conan Doyle and G. K. Chesterton, for instance - with classic stories that have won acclaim over the decades. The collection also uncovers a wide range of hidden gems: Anthony Berkeley - whose brilliance with plot had even Agatha Christie in raptures - is represented by a story so (undeservedly) obscure that even the British Library seems not to own a copy. The stories by Phyllis Bentley and Helen Simpson are almost equally rare, despite the success which both writers achieved, while those by H. C. Bailey, Leo Bruce and the little-known Gerald Findler have seldom been reprinted.

Death of Anton by Alan Melville
British Library 978-0712-35788-3, August 2015, 288pp, £8.99. Cover by Chris Andrews
'There's more crime going on in Carey's Circus than in the whole underworld of London. Theft, immorality, blackmail — you'll find all the pretties here.'
    Seven Bengal tigers are the star attraction of Carey’s Circus. Their trainer is the fearless Anton, whose work demands absolute fitness and the steadiest of nerves. When Anton is found lying dead in the tigers’ cage, it seems that he has lost control and been mauled by the tigers – but Detective-Inspector Minto of Scotland Yard is not convinced.
    Minto’s investigations lead him deep into the circus world of tents and caravans, clowns and acrobats, human and animal performers. No one is above suspicion. Carey, the circus-owner with a secret to hide; Dodo, the clown whose costume is scratched as if by a claw; and Lorimer, the trapeze artist jealous of his flirtatious wife – all come under Minto’s scrutiny as the mystery deepens.
    This amusing and light-hearted novel from the golden age of British crime writing has long been neglected, and this new edition will help to restore Melville’s reputation as an author of extremely entertaining detective fiction.

Quick Curtain by Alan Melville
British Library 978-0712-35789-0, August 2015, 287pp, £8.99. Cover extract from L.N.E.R. poster (Harrogate) by Fred Taylor
'Don't talk bunk!' said Mr Douglas. 'You can't carry on with the show with a man dying on stage. Drop the curtain!'
    When Douglas B. Douglas – leading light of the London theatre – premieres his new musical extravaganza, Blue Music, he is sure the packed house will be dazzled by the performance. What he couldn’t predict is the death of his star, Brandon Baker, on stage in the middle of the second act. Soon another member of the cast is found dead, and it seems to be a straightforward case of murder followed by suicide.
    Inspector Wilson of Scotland Yard – who happens to be among the audience – soon discovers otherwise. Together with Derek, his journalist son, Wilson takes charge of proceedings in his own inimitable way.
    This is a witty, satirical novel from the golden age of British crime fiction between the world wars. It is long overdue for rediscovery and this new edition includes an informative introduction by Martin Edwards, author of The Golden Age of Murder.
     ‘Blows the solemn structure of the detective novel sky-high ... Light entertainment is Mr Melville’s aim, and a fig for procedure!’ Dorothy L. Sayer.

Death of an Airman by Christopher St. John Sprigg
British Library 978-0712-35615-2, August 288pp, £8.99. Cover by Chris Andrews
‘Bubbles over with zest and vitality ... A most ingenious and exciting plot, full of good puzzles and discoveries and worked out among a varied cast of entertaining characters’ Dorothy L. Sayers
    George Furnace, flight instructor at Baston Aero Club, dies instantly when his plane crashes into the English countryside. People who knew him are baffled – Furnace was a first-rate pilot, and the plane was in perfect condition – and the inquest records a verdict of death by misadventure.
    An Australian visitor to the aero club, Edwin Marriott, Bishop of Cootamundra, suspects that the true story is more complicated. Could this be a dramatic suicide – or even murder? Together with Inspector Bray of Scotland Yard, the intrepid bishop must uncover a cunning criminal scheme.

Thirteen Guests by J. Jefferson Farjeon
British Library 978- 0712-35601-5, September 2015, 256pp, £8.99. Cover extract from L.N.E.R. poster (Cruden Bay Hotel Aberdeenshire) by Gordon Nicoll
‘No observer, ignorant of the situation, would have guessed that death lurked nearby, and that only a little distance from the glitter of silver and glass and the hum of voices two victims lay silent on a studio floor.’
    On a fine autumn weekend Lord Aveling hosts a hunting party at his country house, Bragley Court. Among the guests are an actress, a journalist, an artist and a mystery novelist. The unlucky thirteenth is John Foss, injured at the local train station and brought to the house to recuperate – but John is nursing a secret of his own.
    Soon events take a sinister turn when a painting is mutilated, a dog stabbed, and a man strangled. Death strikes more than one of the house guests, and the police are called. Detective Inspector Kendall’s skills are tested to the utmost as he tries to uncover the hidden past of everyone at Bragley Court.
    This country-house mystery is a forgotten classic of 1930s crime fiction by one of the most undeservedly neglected of golden age detective novelists.

The Z Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon
British Library 978-0712-35621-3, September 2015, 256pp, £8.99. Cover extract from British Railways poster (Service by Night) by David Shepherd
‘Jefferson Farjeon is quite unsurpassed for creepy skill in mysterious adventures.’ Dorothy L. Sayers
    Richard Temperley arrives at Euston station early on a fogbound London morning. He takes refuge in a nearby hotel, along with a disagreeable fellow passenger, who had snored his way through the train journey. But within minutes the other man has snored for the last time – he has been shot dead while sleeping in an armchair. Temperley has a brief encounter with a beautiful young woman, but she flees the scene. When the police arrive, Detective Inspector James discovers a token at the crime scene: ‘a small piece of enamelled metal. Its colour was crimson, and it was in the shape of the letter Z.’
    Temperley sets off in pursuit of the mysterious woman from the hotel, and finds himself embroiled in a cross-country chase – by train and taxi – on the tail of a sinister serial killer. This classic novel by the author of the best-selling Mystery in White is a gripping thriller by a neglected master of the genre.

Silent Nights: Christmas Mysteries edited and introduced by Martin Edwards
British Library 978-0712-35610-7, October 2015, 256pp, £8.99. Cover by Chris Andrews
Christmas is a mysterious, as well as magical, time of year. Strange things can happen, and this helps to explain the hallowed tradition of telling ghost stories around the fireside as the year draws to a close. Christmas tales of crime and detection have a similar appeal. When television becomes tiresome, and party games pall, the prospect of curling up in the warm with a good mystery is enticing – and much better for the digestion than yet another helping of plum pudding.
    Crime writers are just as susceptible as readers to the countless attractions of Christmas. Over the years, many distinguished practitioners of the genre have given one or more of their stories a Yuletide setting. The most memorable Christmas mysteries blend a lively storyline with an atmospheric evocation of the season. Getting the mixture right is much harder than it looks.
    This book introduces readers to some of the finest Christmas detective stories of the past. Martin Edwards’ selection blends festive pieces from much-loved authors with one or two stories which are likely to be unfamiliar even to diehard mystery fans. The result is a collection of crime fiction to savour, whatever the season.

Murder of a Lady by Anthony Wynne
British Library 978-0712-35623-7, January 2016 [2015], 269pp, £8.99. Cover extract from Caledonian Railway poster (The Tarbet Hotel) by D.N.A.
A Scottish Mystery
Duchlan Castle is a gloomy, forbidding place in the Scottish Highlands. Late one night the body of Mary Gregor, sister of the laird of Duchlan, is found in the castle. She has been stabbed to death in her bedroom – but the room is locked from within and the windows are barred. The only tiny clue to the culprit is a silver fish’s scale, left on the floor next to Mary’s body.
    Inspector Dundas is dispatched to Duchlan to investigate the case. The Gregor family and their servants are quick – perhaps too quick – to explain that Mary was a kind and charitable woman. Dundas uncovers a more complex truth, and the cruel character of the dead woman continues to pervade the house after her death. Soon further deaths, equally impossible, occur, and the atmosphere grows ever darker. Superstitious locals believe that fish creatures from the nearby waters are responsible; but luckily for Inspector Dundas, the gifted amateur sleuth Eustace Hailey is on the scene, and unravels a more logical solution to this most fiendish of plots.
    Anthony Wynne wrote some of the best locked-room mysteries from the golden age of British crime fiction. This cunningly plotted novel – one of Wynne’s finest – has never been reprinted since 1931, and is long overdue for rediscovery.

Murder at the Manor ed. by Martin Edwards
British Library 978-0712-30993-6, February 2016, 384pp, £8.99. Cover extract from L.N.E.R. poster (Ipswich) by Fred Taylor
The English country house is an iconic setting for some of the greatest British crime fiction. Short stories are an important part of this tradition, and writers from Agatha Christie to Margery allingham became famous for the intricate cases which their detetives unravelled in rambling country houses. These stories continue to enjoy wide appeal, driven partly by nostalgia for a vanished way of life, and partly by the pleasure of trying to solve a fiendish puzzle.
    This new collection gathers together stories written over a span of about 65 years, during which British society, and life in country houses, was transformed out of all recognition. It includes fascinating and unfamiliar twists on the classic 'closed circle' plot, in which the assorted guests at a country house party become suspects when a crime is committed. In the more sinister tales featured here, a gloomy mansion set in lonely grounds offers an eerie backdrop for dark deeds, as in Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Copper Beeches' and W. W. Jacob's 'The Well'.
    Many distinguished writers are represented in this collection, including such great names of the genre as Anthony Berkeley, Nicholas Blake and G. K. Chesterton.

Serpents in Eden: Countryside Crimes ed. by Martin Edwards
British Library 978-0712-35794-4, March 2016, 288pp, £8.99.
'The lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside... Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser.' Sherlock Holmes
    Many of the greatest British crime writers have explored the possibilities of crime in the countryside in lively and ingenious short stories. Serpents in Eden celebrates the rural British mystery by bringing together an eclectic mix of crime stories written over half a century. From a tale of poison-pen letters tearing apart a village community to a macabre mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle, the stories collected here reveal the dark truths hidden in an assortment of rural paradises.
    Among the writers included here are such major figures as G. K. Chesterton and Margery Allingham, along with a host of lesser-known discoveries whose best stories are among the unsung riches of the golden age of British crime fiction between the two world wars.

Death of the Riviera by John Bude
British Library 978-0712-35637-4, March 2016, 256pp, £8.99.
When a counterfeit currency racket comes to light on the French Riviera, Detective Inspector Meredith is sent speeding southwards - out of the London murk to the warmth and glitter of the Mediterranean. Along with Inspector Blampignon - an amiable policeman from Nice - Meredith must trace the whereabouts of Chalky Cobbett, crook and forger.
    Soon their interest centres on the Villa Paloma, the residence of Nesta Hedderwick, an eccentric Englishwoman, and her bohemian house guests - among them her niece, an artist, and a playboy. Before long, it becomes evident that more than one of the occupants of the Villa Paloma has something to hide, and the stage is set for murder.
    This classic crime novel from 1952 evokes all the sunlit glamour of life on the Riviera, and combines deft plotting with a dash of humour. This is the first edition to have been published in more than sixty years and follows the rediscovery of Bude's long-neglected detective writing by the British Library.

Calamity in Kent by John Rowland
British Library 978-0712-35783-8, April 2016, 256pp, £8.99.
In the peaceful seaside town of Broadgate, an impossible crime occurs. The operator of the cliff railway locks the empty carriage one evening; when he returns to work next morning, a dead body is locked inside - a man who has been stabbed in the back.
    Jimmy London, a newspaper reporter, is first on the scene. He is quick on the trail for clues - and agrees to pool his knowledge with Inspector Shelley of Scotland Yard, who is holidaying in the area. Mistrustful of the plodding local policeman, Inspector Beech, the two men launch their own investigation into the most baffling locked-room mystery - a case that could reignite Jimmy's flagging career, but one that exposes him to great danger.

Murder in the Museum by John Rowland
British Library 978-0712-35784-5, April 2016, 272pp, £8.99.
When Professor Julius Arnell breathes his last in the hushed atmosphere of the British Museum Reading Room, it looks like death from natural causes. Who, after all, would have cause to murder a retired academic whose life was devoted to Elizabethan literature? Inspector Shelley's suspicions are aroused when he finds a packet of poisoned sugared almonds in the dead man's pocket; and a motive becomes clearer when he discovers Arnell's connection to a Texan oil millionaire.
    Soon another man plunges hundreds of feet into a reservoir on a Yorkshire moor. What can be the connection between two deaths so different, and so widely separated? The mild-mannered museum visitor Henry Fairhurst adds his detective talents to Inspector Shelley's own, and together they set about solving one of the most baffling cases Shelley has ever encountered.

Death in the Tunnel by Miles Burton
British Library 978-0712-35641-1, May 2016, 256pp, £8.99.
On a dark November evening, Sir Wilfred Saxonby is travelling alone in the 5 o'clock train from Cannon Street, in a locked compartment. The train slows and stops inside a tunnel; and by the time it emerges again minutes later, Sir Wilfred has been shot dead, his heart pierced by a single bullet.
    Suicide seems to be the answer, even though no motive can be found. Inspector Arnold of Scotland Yard thinks again when he learns that a mysterious red light in the tunnel caused the train to slow down.
    Finding himself stumped by the puzzle, Arnold consults his friend Desmond Merrion, a wealthy amateur expert in criminology. Merrion quickly comes up with an 'essential brainwave' and helps to establish how Sir Wilfred met his end, but although it seems that the dead man fell victim to a complex conspiracy, the investigators are puzzled about the conspirators' motives, as well as their identities. Can there be a connection with Sir Wilfred's seemingly untroubled family life, his highly successful business, or his high-handed and unforgiving personality? And what is the significance of the wallet found on the corpse, and the bank notes that it contained?

The Secret of High Eldersham by Miles Burton
British Library 978-0712-35609-1, May 2016, 256pp, £8.99.
'They're terrible mistrustful of strangers in these parts.'
Samuel Whitehead, the new landlord of the Rose and Crown, is a stranger in the lonely East Anglian village of High Eldersham. When the newcomer is stabbed to death in his pub, and Scotland Yard are called to the scene, it seems that the veil dividing High Eldersham from the outside world is about to be lifted.
    Detective-Inspector Young forms a theory about the case so utterly impossible that merely entertaining the suspicion makes him doubt his own sanity. Surrounding by sinister forces beyond his understanding, and feeling the need of rational assistance, he calls on a brilliant amateur and 'living encyclopedia', Desmond Merrion. Soon Merrion falls for the charms of a young woman in the village, Mavis Owerton. But does Mavis know more about the secrets of the village than she is willing to admit?

Inspector Cluff Stands Firm by Gil North
British Library 978-0712-35646-6, July 2016, 176pp, £7.99.
'He could feel it in the blackness, a difference in atmosphere, a sense of evil, of things hidden.'Amy Snowden, in middle age, has long since settled into a lonely life in the Yorkshire town of Gunnarshaw, until - to her neighbours' surprise - she suddenly marries a much younger man. Months later, Amy is found dead - apparently by her own hand - and her husband, Wright, has disappeared.Sergeant Caleb Cluff - silent, watchful, a man at home in the bleak moorland landscape of Gunnarshaw - must find the truth about the couple's unlikely marriage, and solve the riddle of Amy's death.This novel, originally published in 1960, is the first in the series of Sergeant Cluff detective stories that were televised in the 1960s but have long been neglected. This new edition is published in the centenary year of the author's birth.

The 12:30 From Croydon by Freeman Wills Crofts
British Library 978-0712-35649-7, July 2016, 256pp, £8.99.
'Crofts constructs his alibi with immense elaboration...The story is highly successful, and Mr Crofts is to be congratulated upon his experiment' - Dorothy L. SayersWe begin with a body. Andrew Crowther, a wealthy retired manufacturer, is found dead in his seat on the 12.30 flight from Croydon to Paris. Rather less orthodox is the ensuing flashback in which we live with the killer at every stage, from the first thoughts of murder to the strains and stresses of living with its execution. Seen from the criminal's perspective, a mild-mannered Inspector by the name of French is simply another character who needs to be dealt with. This is an unconventional yet gripping story of intrigue, betrayal, obsession, justification and self-delusion.

The Cheltenham Square Murder by John Bude
British Library 978-0712-35648-0, August 2016, 288pp, £8.99.
In the seeming tranquility of Regency Square in Cheltenham live the diverse inhabitants of its ten houses. One summer's evening, the square's rivalries and allegiances are disrupted by a sudden and unusual death - an arrow to the head, shot through an open window at no. 6. Unfortunately for the murderer, an invitation to visit had just been sent by the crime writer Aldous Barnet, staying with his sister at no. 8, to his friend Superintendent Meredith. Three days after his arrival, Meredith finds himself investigating the shocking murder two doors down. Six of the square's inhabitants are keen members of the Wellington Archery Club, but if Meredith and Long thought that the case was going to be easy to solve, they were wrong...The Cheltenham Square Murder is a classic example of how John Bude builds a drama within a very specific location. Here the Regency splendour of Cheltenham provides the perfect setting for a story in which appearances are certainly deceiving.

The Methods of Sergeant Cluff by Gil North
British Library 978-0712-35647-3, September 2016, 176pp, £7.99.
After battling for justice, at great personal risk, in his first recorded case, Sergeant Caleb Cluff made a swift return to duty in this book. The story opens one wet and windy night, with the discovery of a young woman's corpse, lying face down on the cobblestones of a passageway in the Yorkshire town of Gunnarshaw. The deceased is Jane Trundle, an attractive girl who worked as an assistant in a chemist's shop. She yearned for the good life, and Cluff finds more money in her handbag than she would have earned in wages.There are echoes of Sherlock Holmes ('You know my methods, Watson') in the title, and in an exchange in the first chapter between Cluff and Superintendent Patterson, but Cluff is very much his own man. Little that goes on in and around the mean streets of Gunnarshaw escapes him. He is scornful of detectives who rely solely on supposed facts: 'More than facts were in question here, the intangible, invisible passions of human beings.' Understanding those passions leads him gradually towards the truth about Jane's murder.

Mystery in the Channel by Freeman Wills Crofts
British Library 978-0712-35651-0, September 2016, 256pp, £8.99.
Mystery in the Channel is a classic crime novel with a strikingly modern sub-text. The story begins with a shocking discovery. The captain of the Newhaven to Dieppe steamer spots a small pleasure yacht lying motionless in the water, and on closer inspection, sees a body lying on the deck. When members of his crew go aboard the yacht, they find not one male corpse but two. Both men have been shot, but there is no sign of either the murderer or the pistol. The dead men, it quickly emerges, were called Moxon and Deeping, and they were chairman and vice-chairman respectively of the firm of Moxon General Securities, one of the largest financial houses in the country. Inspector Joseph French of Scotland Yard is called in, reporting directly to the Assistant Commissioner, Sir Mortimer Ellison. French soon discovers that Moxon's is on the brink of collapse. One and a half million pounds have gone missing, and so has one of the partners in the business. Moxon and Deeping seem to have been fleeing the country with their ill-gotten gains, but who killed them, and how? French faces one of the toughest challenges of his career, and in a dramatic climax, risks his life in a desperate attempt to ensure that justice is done.

The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley
British Library 978-0712-35653-4, October 2016, 224pp, £8.99.
'All his stories are amusing, intriguing, and he is a master of the final twist' - Agatha Christie
'One of the most stunning trick stories in the history of detective fiction' - Julian Symons
Graham and Joan Bendix have apparently succeeded in making that eighth wonder of the modern world, a happy marriage. And into the middle of it there drops, like a clap of thunder, a box of chocolates.Joan Bendix is killed by a poisoned box of liqueur chocolates that cannot have been intended for her to eat. The police investigation rapidly reaches a dead end. Chief Inspector Moresby calls on Roger Sheringham and his Crimes Circle - six amateur but intrepid detectives - to consider the case. The evidence is laid before the Circle and the members take it in turn to offer a solution. Each is more convincing than the last, slowly filling in the pieces of the puzzle, until the dazzling conclusion.

Death of a Busybody by George Bellairs
British Library 978-0712-35644-2, October 2016, 244pp, £8.99.
The eponymous nosy parker in Death of a Busybody is Miss Ethel Tither. She has made herself deeply unpopular in the quintessentially English village of Hilary Magna, since she goes out of her way to snoop on people, and interfere with their lives. On being introduced to her, the seasoned reader of detective stories will spot a murder victim in the making. Sure enough, by the end of chapter one, this unpleasant lady has met an extremely unpleasant fate. She is found floating in a cesspool, having been bludgeoned prior to drowning in the drainage water.This is, in every way, a murky business; realising that they are out of their depth, the local police quickly call in the Yard. Inspector Thomas Littlejohn, George Bellairs' series detective, arrives on the train, and in casting around for suspects, he finds that he is spoiled for choice. The amiable vicar supplies him with a map showing the scene of the crime; maps were a popular feature of traditional whodunnits for many years, and Bellairs occasionally included them in his books, as he does here.

Crimson Snow: Winter Mysteries edited by Martin Edwards
British Library 978-0712-35665-7, November 2016, 288pp, £8.99.
Crimson Snow brings together a dozen vintage crime stories set in winter. Welcome to a world of Father Christmases behaving oddly, a famous fictional detective in a Yuletide drama, mysterious tracks in the snow----, and some very unpleasant carol singers. The mysterious events chronicled by a distinguished array of contributors in this volume frequently take place at Christmas. There's no denying that the supposed season of goodwill is a time of year that lends itself to detective fiction. On a cold night, it's tempting to curl up by the fireside with a good mystery. And more than that, claustrophobic house parties, when people may be cooped up with long-estranged relatives, can provide plenty of motives for murder.Including forgotten stories by great writers such as Margery Allingham, as well as classic tales by less familiar crime novelists, each story in this selection is introduced by the great expert on classic crime, Martin Edwards. The resulting volume is an entertaining and atmospheric compendium of wintry delights.

The Dead Shall Be Raised and Murder of a Quack by George Bellairs
British Library 978-0712-35652-7, December 2016, 224pp, £8.99.
Two classic cases featuring Detective-Inspector Littlejohn.
    In the winter of 1940, the Home Guard unearths a skeleton on the moor above the busy town of Hatterworth. Twenty-three years earlier, the body of a young textile worker was found in the same spot, and the prime suspect was never found - but the second body is now identified as his. Inspector Littlejohn is in the area for Christmas and takes on the investigation of the newly reopened case. Soon it becomes clear that the murderer is still at large...
    Nathaniel Wall, the local quack doctor, is found hanging in his consulting room in the Norfolk village of Stalden - but this was not a suicide. Wall may not have been a qualified doctor, but his skill as a bonesetter and his commitment to village life were highly valued. Scotland Yard is drafted in to assist. Quickly settling into his accommodation at the village pub, Littlejohn begins to examine the evidence...Against the backdrop of a close-knit village, an intriguing story of ambition, blackmail, fraud, false alibis and botanical trickery unravels.

Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate
British Library 978-0712-35674-9, January 2017, 256pp, £8.99.
'The characterisation of the people in the story, as well as the teasing mystery, and the dark cynicism about human behaviour and the nature of justice, make this a crime novel to cherish'—Martin Edwards
    A woman is on trial for her life, accused of murder. The twelve members of the jury each carry their own secret burden of guilt and prejudice which could affect the outcome. In this extraordinary crime novel, we follow the trial through the eyes of the jurors as they hear the evidence and try to reach a unanimous verdict. Will they find the defendant guilty, or not guilty? And will the jurors' decision be the correct one? Since its first publication in 1940, Verdict of Twelve has been widely hailed as a classic of British crime writing. This edition offers a new generation of readers the chance to find out why so many leading commentators have admired the novel for so long.

Scarweather by Anthony Rolls
British Library 978-0712-35664-0, February 2017, 272pp, £8.99.
"My friend Ellingham has persuaded me to reveal to the public the astounding features of the Reisby case. As a study in criminal aberration it is, he tells me, of particular interest, while in singularity of horror and in perversity of ingenious method it is probably unique"
    1913. John Farringdale, with his cousin Eric Foster, visits the famous archaeologist Tolgen Reisby. At Scarweather - Reisby's lonely house on the windswept northern coast of England - Eric is quickly attracted to Reisby's much younger wife, and matters soon take a dangerous turn. Fifteen years later, the final scene of the drama is enacted.
    This unorthodox novel from 1934 is by a gifted writer who, wrote Dorothy L. Sayers, "handles his characters like a 'real' novelist and the English language like a 'real' writer – merits which are still, unhappily, rarer than they should be in the ranks of the murder specialists."

Family Matters by Anthony Rolls
British Library 978-0712-35669-5, March 2017, 256pp, £8.99.
Robert Arthur Kewdingham is an eccentric failure of a man. In middle age he retreats into a private world, hunting for Roman artefacts and devoting himself to bizarre mystical beliefs. Robert's wife, Bertha, feels that there are few things more dreadful than a husband who will persist in making a fool of himself in public. Their marriage consists of horrible quarrels, futile arguments, incessant bickering. Scarcely any friends will visit the Kewdinghams in their peaceful hometown Shufflecester.
     Everything is wrong - and with the entrance of John Harrigall, a bohemian bachelor from London who catches Bertha's eye, they take a turn for the worse. Soon deep passions and resentments shatter the calm facade of the Kewdinghams' lives.
    This richly characterised and elegantly written crime novel from 1933.

Miraculous Mysteries. Locked-Room Murders and Impossible Crimes ed. Martin Edwards
British Library 978-0712-35673-2, April 2017, 352pp, £8.99.
Locked-room mysteries and other impossible crime stories have been relished by puzzle-lovers ever since the invention of detective fiction. Fiendishly intricate cases were particularly well suited to the cerebral type of detective story that became so popular during the golden age of murder between the two world wars. But the tradition goes back to the days of Wilkie Collins, and impossible crime stories have been written by such luminaries as Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham. This anthology celebrates their work, alongside long-hidden gems by less familiar writers. Together these stories demonstrate the range and high accomplishment of the classic British impossible crime story over more than half a century.

The Incredible Crime. A Cambridge mystery by Lois Austen-Leigh
British Library 978-0172-35602-2, May 2017, 288pp, £8.99.
Prince s College, Cambridge, is a peaceful and scholarly community, enlivened by Prudence Pinsent, the Master s daughter. Spirited, beautiful, and thoroughly unconventional, Prudence is a remarkable young woman.
    One fine morning she sets out for Suffolk to join her cousin Lord Wellende for a few days hunting. On the way Prudence encounters Captain Studde of the coastguard who is pursuing a quarry of his own.
    Studde is on the trail of a drug smuggling ring that connects Wellende Hall with the cloistered world of Cambridge. It falls to Prudence to unravel the identity of the smugglers who may be forced to kill, to protect their secret.

Continental Crimes ed. Martin Edwards
British Library 978-0172-35679-7, June 2017, 352pp, £8.99.
A man is forbidden to uncover the secret of the tower in a fairy-tale castle by the Rhine. A headless corpse is found in a secret garden in Paris - belonging to the city's chief of police. And a drowned man is fished from the sea off the Italian Riviera, leaving the carabinieri to wonder why his socialite friends at the Villa Almirante are so unconcerned by his death. These are three of the scenarios in this new collection of vintage crime stories compiled by Martin Edwards. Detective stories from the golden age and beyond have used European settings - cosmopolitan cities, rural idylls and crumbling chateaux - to explore timeless themes of revenge, deception and haunting. Including lesser-known stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton, and J. Jefferson Farjeon - and over a dozen other classic writers - this collection reveals many hidden gems of British crime.

(* Originally published  21 February 2015; updated and expanded 1 August 2015; updated and expanded 12 December 2015; 4 June 2016; 12 December 2015.)