#419: The Wants – Five Books I Am Excited About


After a month of possibly pie-in-the-sky hoping (hey, a full reprint of someone may be right around the corner, you never know…), let’s finish on a more positive note.  This week, stuff that’s actually happening in the future and about which I have many reasons to be hopeful.

Also, yes, I am aware the title of this post is ungrammatical.  Blame the professional editor I definitely employ who is responsible for checking this kind of thing.


1. Gallows Court (2018) by Martin Edwards

51qdaes-bhlCurrent President of the Detection Club Martin Edwards has since publishing his last novel completed two compendious, authoritative, and comprehensive studies of classic era detective fiction with The Golden Age of Murder (2015) and The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Book (2017).  So imagine our delight when he spoke about his new novel on our podcast recently, mentioning that it will be set in the 1930s and contain a great many callbacks to the classics he has been studying.  And indeed, the synopsis as it currently stands sounds like the perfect opportunity for someone who has curated a huge number of forgotten classics for the British Library while also reading and studying the genre in huge depth to put more than a few touches of their own in an already enticing setup:

Sooty, sulphurous, and malign: no woman should be out on a night like this. A spate of violent deaths – the details too foul to print – has horrified the capital and the smog-bound streets are deserted. But Rachel Savernake – the enigmatic daughter of a notorious hanging judge – is no ordinary woman. To Scotland Yard’s embarrassment, she solved the Chorus Girl Murder, and now she’s on the trail of another killer.

Jacob Flint, a young newspaperman temporarily manning The Clarion‘s crime desk, is looking for the scoop that will make his name. He’s certain there is more to the Miss Savernake’s amateur sleuthing than meets the eye. He’s not the only one. His predecessor on the crime desk was of a similar mind – not that Mr Betts is ever expected to regain consciousness after that unfortunate accident…

Flint’s pursuit of Rachel Savernake will draw him ever-deeper into a labyrinth of deception and corruption. Murder-by-murder, he’ll be swept ever-closer to its dark heart – to that ancient place of execution, where it all began and where it will finally end: Gallows Court.

2. Another Word for Murder (2018) by Anthony Horowitz

I was under the impression we would not be seeing this until 2019, what with Horowitz’s second — and very, very good — James Bond novel Forever and a Day (2018) having been released in May.  However, everyone’s favourite workers’ rights-trampling rainforest-named purveyor of everything has a November 2018 publication date listed, and I for one am extremely excited to see how he builds on the author-as-fictional-character conceit he established and used so well in the first book in this series:

William Pryce is an elegant, smooth-tongued lawyer who has made a fortune out of celebrity divorces – and a lot of enemies in the process. Unmarried himself, he lives in a handsome bachelor pad on the edge of Hampstead Heath.

Or rather he used to …

When he is found murdered, the police confront the most baffling of mysteries: who was the visitor who came to Pryce’s house moments before he died, arriving while he was still talking on the phone?

“You shouldn’t be here. It’s too late…” were Pryce’s last recorded words but what exactly do they mean?

Why does his killer paint a three-digit number on the wall before leaving the crime scene? And why exactly was he bludgeoned to death with a bottle of wine – a 1982 Chateau Lafite worth £3,000 – when he didn’t drink alcohol?

The police are forced to hand the case to Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne, who takes it on with characteristic relish.

But Hawthorne himself has secrets to hide and as our reluctant narrator becomes ever more embroiled in the case he realises that these are secrets that need to be exposed – even if it puts his own life in danger…

3. The Blake Harte Mysteries by Robert Innes

Robert Innes Blake harte

Possibly a bit of a cheat, this, since I’ve only read the first two and so the majority of this self-published series — there are eight at present, but Innes writes to damn fast there will probably be a ninth by the time you read this — are available to me if I was willing to just sit down a tear through them.  The improvement from Untouchable (2016) to Confessional (2016) augurs well for the (okay, my) future of this series, and I appreciate Innes’ focus on simply writing a story that’s as long as it needs to be and then publishing it, rather than padding it out with an excess of needless detail purely to be able to call it a ‘novel’.  His settings and characters are good, he’s shown admirable creativity in using impossible crimes in a manner that feel pleasingly authentic, while also demonstrating some real skill in winding a plot much tighter than it initially appeared.  My on-going Adventures in Self-Publishing are all the better for having discovered Innes and his books — he has another series, too, which I’m yet to start — and I am legitimately as excited for these as I am the two preceding titles on this list.

4. The Crime in the Leaning Mansion (1982) by Soji Shimada

nanameIf you seek evidence of my power and influence, look no further: a couple of weeks a go I said that we needed more Shimada in English, and almost instantly it was announced that Pushkin Vertigo would be publishing this second Kiyoshi Mitarai novel in 2019.  What’s that you say?  They’d already planed to release it and I was just lucky in my timing?  Ahem, I don’t think so.  I speak, and the GAD world trembles.  This isn’t GAD, you say?  Well…well, no, that’s fine, but it’s part of the hugely influential shin honkaku movement that’s built on the Western detective story tradition exemplified by GAD…look, okay, obviously I had nothing to do with this, but Ho-Ling makes this sound great, and I’m extremely excited for more Shimada to make it to these shores after the brief couple of tastes we’ve had to date:

Christmas marks the beginning of a series of murders, horrible murders. One guest is found stabbed in a locked room, with no footsteps in the snow leading to his door. And for some reason a human-sized doll, which belongs to Hamamoto, is found lying outside in the garden. Was it the doll that running around on the roof , as one of the guests says she saw in the middle of the night? The police arrives at the scene, but they are not able to prevent a second locked room murder the same night. Everyone has an alibi. Except for the doll. A doll named Golem, who according to the store Hamamoto bought it from, was named after the legendary creature because he too is actually a living doll. As the police is able to do nothing, one man is sent for: Mitarai.

5. Further Locked Room International publications by Various Authors

Yeah, it’s another cheat.  I’m on holiday, what do you want from me?  Locked Room International is the one publisher about whom  I can honestly say that I’ve read every single word they’ve published; John Pugmire’s tireless efforts to bring new, original translations of excellent foreign language impossible crime novels to the English-speaking market — not to mention republishing a handful of hard-to-find classics originally published in English — are wonderful, and have raised awareness of things like the shin honkaku school mentioned above with some of the strongest impossible crime novels I’ve ever read.  I understand the next LRI title to be The Man Who Loved Clouds (1999) by Paul Halter — and the image on the front page of the newly-rejigged LRI website would indicate the forthcoming publication of a non-fiction book that will cause a huge amount of excitement among locked room fans — but in all honesty I’m going to buy everything put out under that banner, and I hope it continues for a long time yet.


Anyone else got any forthcoming books they’re excited about?  Or news of that Freeman Wills Crofts or John Dickson Carr or Bruce Campbell total reissue we’re all holding out so fervently for…?

39 thoughts on “#419: The Wants – Five Books I Am Excited About

  1. Whoo-hoo on the new Horowitz and the Shimada reprint!! 🙂

    I think Tony Medawar is compiling a new collection of Christianna Brand stories, including a novelette that might not have been published before! I probably have the details wrong, and I have no idea when it will be published. But it sounds awfully exciting to me!!

    From the sublime to the ridiculous, however: at the end of August, we will see the third Hercule Poirot travesty by Sophie Hannah, The Mystery of the Three Quarters. Does this Christie fan hope she will ever get this right? Or do I wonder why Hannah doesn’t pass the baton on to, oh, say, Anthony Horowitz??? Ah, well. 😦


    • Probably it’s supposed to be continued by a woman, even if that woman made a career writing in another genre…

      Granted I’ve never read Horowitz myself. Would House of Silk be a good place to start?

      Excited as well about Shimada’s novel and anything LRI publishes. Would be nice to know what’s in the works other than the two teases in their page.

      I’m also excited by the forthcoming translation of Yokomizo’s debut which according to a comment by Pugmire on TomCat’s blog should be released on 2019, but not from LRI.


      • I’d say any of the recent Horowitz books — House of Silk, Moriarty, Magpie Murders, The Word is Murder — are worth investigating from a crime and detection perspective.

        If you’re a James Bond (of the novels, natch) fan, his two 007 continuations — Trigger Mortis, Forever and a Day — are wonderful. But it feels very much as if he’s fitting expertly into a mould there, where the other titles (even the Holmes ones) are rather more free. Though that’s doubtless due to the construction and type of those plots. Or I’m wrong. Take your pick.


      • House of Silk I remember hating; it felt like the most self-indulgent type of fanfic that people usually grow out of in their mid-teens. (I’m writing Sherlock Holmes! I have to include this, and this, and this, and make a callback to this, and etc.) I wasn’t very impressed with the mystery or the crime either; the latter felt like cheap sensationalism to explain why Watson ordered his write-up of the case to be released so long after it happened. But I haven’t read any of his other detective fiction, so he may have improved.


        • Ha. Well, it’s not as if Horowitz is more guilty of this than anyone else: I’m not sure any of the Holmes pastiches have avoided an ezcess of references to Mycroft, the Irregulatrs, the woman, Moriarty, and however many more touchstones. Since no-one had technically — and while Caleb Carr would disagree, The Italian Secretary was so bad he’d do better not to remind people of it — written an official Holmes universe story before, it’s not even like we could blame the Estate for this. Maybe it’s just people trying to show they “know” Holmes, and because everyone does, it gets boring.

          FWIW, I really liked the contstruction of The House of Silk — though I can’t deny it does get a little sensationalist towards the end — and in Moriarty there’s a surprising amount of criticism of Holmes which is quite something when you consider that it, too, was authorised by the Conan Doyle estate and so technically qualifies as canon.

          Man, I want a third Horowitz Holmes book so much. As great a job as he’s done with Bond, I still closed Forever and a Day and thought “Oh, man, I guess this means even more of a wait…”


    • Hey Brad, I suppose I should don my bullet-proof vest now to confess that I didn’t mind the second Poirot novel – I thought it was less convoluted and better plotted than the first. If I were to take them as standalone mystery novels, I would say they are generally enjoyable. *dodges multiple bullets 😨*

      Yannis – I didn’t like ‘House of Silk’ very much, but I’d suggest starting there if you are a Holmes fan. Otherwise, I’d suggest starting with ‘Magpie Murders’ instead. 😊


    • I have no read the Poirot continuations, and sincerely doubt I will, no matter who writes them — but I’m curious: would people rather something like this

      a) is undertaken by one author who, if they start unpromisingly, may at least learn, refine and improve as they go, or

      b) is shipped around a variety of authors (like James Bond has been recently) some of who will miss by seemingly Olympic record distances and some of who will — as with Horowitz — nail it almost note-perfecty.

      Hmm, I have a feeling that was a question, so here’s the appropriate punctuation mark to finish it: ?

      See, the first option is frustrating, but there’s cope to improve if one person is applying themself seriously — and the more it falls on their shoulders along, surely the more seriously they’ll take it. But the second has the pitfalls of being alternately terrible (gleeps, Jeffery Deaver’s Bonf novel is…like, easily one of the worst novels I have ever read) but then potentially amazing each time someone new takes it on.

      Anyway, you get the idea. If anyone is able to form an opinion on the back of this rambling (I’ve just had a very large, very strong cofffee) please share it…


  2. Thanks JJ for a post like this that heightens anticipation and makes waiting possibly more challenging? 😅 I’m definitely looking forward to (1), (2), (4) and (5) – I’ve been counting down the days to ‘Gallows Court’ since Martin Edwards mentioned about it in his podcast with you and Dan. Admittedly, recent reviews of Soji Shimada’s ‘Tokyo Zodiac Murders’ haven’t been as glowing as old reviews, but his second work is meant to be one of his strongest. 🤩 I’m excited about more Paul Halter, and hope we’ll get to hear more about ‘Man Who Loved Clouds’ soon.

    Other novels I’m looking forward to: CHristopher Huang’s ‘Gentleman’s Murder’ (meant to be released today), the fourth Death in Paradise novel (I’m saving up the third instalment till I get my hands on the fourth one!), the Chinese translation of the latest Kindaichi manga (with our teenage detective now 37 years old), Christianna Brand’s hitherto unpublished novel, etc. 😎


    • Oh yeah Kindaichi goes without saying.

      I’m waiting for the English translation to finish before reading it. Just 4 chapters left….


    • I didn’t know there was another Thorogood book due. Makes sense, I guess, DiP is very popular. I have the third one as an ebook, but struggled with his writing so much in the first two I’ve yet to work up the enthusiasm for it.

      Just checked out the synopsis for the fourth one — Murder in the Caribbean — and it sounds (sounds, mind) like he may be moving away from the impossible crime element, which would be a shame. I’m not a fan of his prose, but his plot construction was pretty good, and I’d sort of hoped he’d eventually improve the one to match the other and give us an excellent modern impossible crime novel. Not, of course, that one summer makes a swallow. No, hang on…


  3. Well, I’m looking forward to the complete reissue of the Brian Flynn catalogue. Not that it’s going to happen, but at this stage, dreaming of those lost titles is all I have. Sorry, grumpy as finally found a copy of one title and it got lost in the post while crossing the ocean from the US…

    Have you read any of Martin’s other novels, out of curiosity?


    • I read The Coffin Trail fairly soon after it was published, because I was casting around for current British mystery writers at the time (I’d read a lot of Colin Bateman, Paul Johnston, John Connolly, etc at the time). I remember enjoying it — as if I’m going to say anything else — but then my attention was captured by other schools and I moved on.

      Oh, and I’ve read his Sherlock Holmes stories, and need to write about them at some point. Thanks for the reminder.


  4. The book at the top of my wishlist is The Cat Jumps by Miles Burton (a.k.a John Rhode). It features a locked room murder in a completely sealed house and is nearly impossible to find.
    Christianna Brand’s The Chinese Puzzle is another huge want with its impossible crime set in a secret room during a seance.
    The second volume of Joseph Commings stories would also be appreciated, but I haven’t even found the first.


    • Hmmm, had I know The Cat Jumps was so rare I would have sold some of the 58 copies I’ve been using to prop up all my cheap furniture…

      And it sounds like people are expecting The Chinese Puzzle to be published soon, right? Gives those of us desperate top read Hake Talbot’s The Case of the Half Witness some hope…entirely false hope, no doubt, but some hope nonetheless.


      • I remember reading somewhere about an unpublished Brand novel being published in 2019 and considering the fact that this is the only unpublished one I’m aware of, I have some hope 😃.
        If we’re wishing for lost mystery novels, I’m definitely hoping for the rediscovery of one of the Brooks U Banner novels, or the lost JDC novel titled The Dancing Postman (or something similar, I always forget it’s title)
        Can’t wait for The Man Who Loved Clouds also. I’m very lucky I guess, right after getting into Halter the newest Halter is the one I wanted the most out of all of them.


        • Haha, I remember curating a celebration of Halter’s 60th birthday and Sergio reviewing The Madman’s Room and thinking “Damn, that sounds good!” — and then about a year later it was announced as the next translation ans I was probably even more excited than I normally am. And it turned out to be awesome, so I entirely understand where you’re coming from.

          I believe, however, that this is the first I’ve ever heard of The Dancing Postman — there’s really an unpublished/lost/whatever Carr out there? Surely not…


          • He wrote it with John Rhode and turned it in. But it was never published.
            It could have been published under another name or in a lost magazine or publishing company. Douglas Greene mentions it in his biography on Carr. You couldn’t believe my excitement when I first read it.


            • Also, if we’re talking about unfinished lost manuscripts then Carr also has one. He wrote the first seven chapters of one last H.M novel titled (with what is probably one of his best titles) The Six Black Reasons before throwing in the title. I just want to learn the premise behind the title tbh, I don’t need to really read it. Then there’s a host of never done work. He tried writing novels with titles like The Mystery of Four Faces and Enter Three Poisoners but never did. Of course, some elements of these stories were probably incorporated into others.


            • Too many spambots were ‘like’ing comments — and while I’m obviously desperate for any sort of attention and validation, it felt a little empty coming from what is essentially a mindless computer algorithm trying to get people to buy totes legit medication through my GAD blog.


  5. I’ve listed a couple of short story collections that I’d like to see elsewhere. Short version: Further Arthur Porges collections and the final Sam Hawthorne collection, both of which are due this autumn. Like Bekir, I’d also like to see a second Joseph Commings collection. That Brand collection mentioned above should also be interesting. And of course a second Paul Halter collection would never go amiss.

    Good to see that LRI seem to be publishing Robert Adey’s “Locked Room Murders”. It’ll be interesting to see whether this is an updated version.


    • I think — and don’t quote me on this — that the version of LRM is going to be the 1991 second edition, and that a second volume will then follow with various updated novels and the like. Frankly, I’m delighted either way!


      • Do you know if there any way to contribute titles to this update of Locked Room Murders? I have handwritten annotations in my copy (the revised edition published by Overlook Press) I made of with several books that were overlooked when I was obsessed with doing that. I eventually stopped. But there are also some titles I talk about on my blog that do not appear in Adey’s book.


        • I’d suggest your best bet would be to email John Pugmire and suggest them to him, John. As I say, I could be entirely wrong about the above and it may we be updated, but since it’s LRI putting out the “new” edition it seems pretty likely that Pugmire would know what’s going to be in it. His email is on the LRI homepage. Maybe you’ve got somehting he doesn’t know about — good luck!


  6. I too am very excited for the Horowitz and the Edwards novels. As to what else I am looking forward to Harper Collins have A Voice Like Velvet by Donald Henderson, The Shop Windows Murders by Vernon Loder and Murder in the Bookshop by Carolyn Wells – so I am interested in reading them for different reasons. As to modern authors I am also excited for the latest Boris Akunin translation, Black City, which is coming out just after my birthday.


        • I have got the last three or four issues, yes, but of CADS 78 I’ve so far only read the piece on Loder because I know Nigel Moss (who wrote it) slightly — and it makes that book, and Loder in general, sound marvellous.

          I’m glad Geoff puts them out only every five or so months, because it can take me that long to pick through everything in there. In fact, I’d been thinking that I might take 78 with me when I go on holiday next week, so that I actually have some free time to sit down and read it all. Thanks for the reminder!


  7. I am very excited about having been solely responsible for bringing a certain writer back into print. Can’t say anything else other than two books will appear in 2019,hopefully January or February. When the contract is signed with the estate’s representative I can announce the titles and author.

    John Dickson Carr is being reprinted by Scottish indie press Birlinn, Ltd under their Polygon imprint. The first one is THE CASE OF THE CONSTANT SUICIDES and was released back in June. It has a handsomely designed cover, BTW. I was told in the PR material that if sales are good, other Carr titles may follow. Judging by their catalog (Buchan, Muriel Spark, Robert J Harris, among others) it seems that the writer must be Scottish or the book must have a strong Scotland setting. That will certainly limit the reprints of Carr from this publisher. I can’t think of one other title set in Scotland, though I do remember several Scottish characters.


    • John, this is excellent and very exciting news — congratulations! I, like everyone, am inevitably bursting with questions, but we’ll have to hold our natural curisosity where GAD reprtins are concerned and hope things get finalised soon. Outstanding work.

      I saw the recent TCotCS reprints — I’ve even ordered a copy to help with sales, though I’m still waiting on it — and wan’t sure if it meant more Carr were due or just if someone was picking up the option on the old Rue Morgue Press titles now that they’r defunct and so not going to produce any more. I guess time will tell.


  8. More Joseph Commings for one. And while I’m daydreaming, I’d like The Complete (Short) Fiction of Edward D. Hoch, to be flipped through at my leisure.

    I’m hoping that The Crime At the Slanted Mansion actually comes out this time, I swear I’ve heard that that dang book is coming soon for years now.

    And I saw that picture! I have comments but will wait on them since I won’t check comments for like a day.


    • Oh, a complete short fiction collection for Ed Hoch would solve a lot of the problems some of us have in even getting round to reading Hoch. That’s an inspired idea.


      • Hrm. I have The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked Room Mysteries lying on my desk here (because I’ve just finished translating the Bill Pronzini story in it). It contains 68 stories, if I counted correctly, and is already quite unwieldy and a bit of a chore to read comfortably.

        Ed Hoch has written more than 600 short stories. I want them all published and readily available, but I find it just a tad hard to see that in one volume… 😉


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