Editors & Anthologies


REVIEWED BY RAY O’LEARY:
   

MICHAEL KURLAND, Editor – Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Years. St. Martin’s, hardcover, November 2004; softcover, January 2006.

MICHAEL KURLAND Holmes Missing Years

    A solid collection of 12 pastiches recounting some of the adventures Holmes had during the “missing years” when he was thought to have died with Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls. All are original to this volume except for “The God of the Naked Unicorn,” by Richard Lupoff, written in 1976.

    Highlights are “The Beast of the Guangming Peak,” by Michael Mallory, which has an elderly Colonel in a retired soldiers’ home recalling events 50 years ago in the Himalayas on which he met an explorer named Sigerson (Holmes’s alias) and needy met the abominable snowman.

    “The Case of the Lugubrious Servant,” by Rhys Bowen, has Holmes suffering from amnesia after his encounter with Moriarty and thought to be a half-wit. He’s working as a handyman at a Swiss inn where he meets Sigmund Freud and recovers his memory in time to solve a murder.

    “The Bughouse Caper” features Holmes in San Francisco where Pronzini’s cowboy/PI Jack Quincannon gets jealous of him while working on a burglary and murder case. Michael Kurland’s own “Reichenbach” has both Holmes and Moriarty faking their deaths to go undercover for the British government at the behest of brother Mycroft.

    In “The Adventure of the Missing Detective,” by Gary Lovisi, Holmes crosses into a parallel universe where he died and Moriarty survived to become the power behind King Albert Christian Edward Victor of England (Victoria’s grandson thought by some to be Jack the Ripper) who is turning Britain into a dictatorship.

    And “Cross of Gold” by Michael Collins tells the story of an elderly stepgrandmother telling how the grandfather, a newly arrived immigrant to America, was accused of murdering a wealthy man because of his left-wing sympathies and was cleared by Sherlock Holmes in New York City. The grandson is Dan Fortune.

    These and the other stories here make worthwhile reading and healthy additions to the mountain of Holmes stories written about him since Conan Doyle went to that undiscovered country.

TWELVE ANTHOLOGIES OF
HARD-BOILED & NOIR STORIES:
A List by Josef Hoffmann


   The selected anthologies contain mostly short stories from Black Mask and similar pulp magazines. Several stories are newer. The books are especially recommended to readers who want to get a representative overview of this kind of crime fiction without investing the time, money and labour to obtain the original magazines.

   These books are also of interest for collectors who want to take care of their gems and prefer to read the old texts in new books. But my list is not complete. More such anthologies have been published than I have selected.

HARD BOILED ANTHOLOGIES

Adrian, Jack & Pronzini, Bill – Hard-Boiled: An Anthology of American Crime Stories, Oxford University Press, 1995.

   This is a de luxe edition of an anthology, not only concerning the contents but also the quality of the paper and the book cover. The long and brilliant introduction tries to define hard-boiled crime fiction. Then follow 36 stories from the 1920s to the 1990s. There are the big stars like Hammett, Chandler, W. R. Burnett, James M. Cain, Chester Himes, Mickey Spillane, Jim Thompson etc., but also forgotten writers like William Cole, Benjamin Appel, Jonathan Craig, Helen Nielsen and others.

   Among the contemporary authors you find Elmore Leonard, Margaret Maron, James Ellroy, Andrew Vachss, Faye Kellerman. One of the finest stories is contributed by James M. Reasoner, a story in a slightly depressive mood. Every story is introduced by an informative note, so the book is also a reference work. As far as I can remember it was nominated for an Edgar award, which is no surprise for any reader of this anthology.

HARD BOILED ANTHOLOGIES

Ellroy, James & Penzler, Otto – The Best American Noir of the Century, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.

   This book of 731 pages contains more stories of contemporary writers than of old ones. There is no text of Hammett, Chandler, Horace McCoy and Paul Cain. But there are stories by MacKinlay Kantor (“Gun Crazy”), Dorothy B. Hughes, David Goodis, Charles Beaumont (“The Hunger”), Jim Thompson, Patricia Highsmith and others.

   Among contemporary writers you find James Ellroy, James Lee Burke, James Crumley, Jeffery Deaver, Joyce Carol Oates, Lawrence Block, Dennis Lehane, Andrew Klavan, Elmore Leonard, Ed Gorman and other writers which are not so well-known. The most recent story was published in 2007: “Missing the Morning Bus,” by Lorenzo Carcaterra. The book starts with a short foreword by Penzler and an even shorter introduction by Ellroy. Informative notes on the authors are added to each story. It is good value for your money.

HARD BOILED ANTHOLOGIES

Goulart, Ron – The Hardboiled Dicks. An Anthology of Detective Fiction from the American Pulp Magazines, T. V. Boardman 1967.

   Goulart’s book contains stories by Norbert Davis, John K. Butler, Frederick Nebel, Raoul Whitfield, Frank Gruber, Richard Sale, Lester Dent and Erle Stanley Gardner. Four were published in Black Mask, the rest in other pulp magazines.

   Goulart’s introduction and his introducing notes for each story are rather short, also the informal reading list at the end of the book. As a hardcover edition of the Boardman’s “American Bloodhound” series with a jacket design by the legendary Denis McLoughlin, this book is a much-sought collector’s item.

HARD BOILED ANTHOLOGIES

Jakubowski, Maxim – The Mammoth Book of Pulp Fiction, Robinson 1996.

   Jakubowski is not only an editor of crime fiction but also a writer of erotic crime novels and the owner of the London bookshop Murder One, which unfortunately does not exist anymore. Jakubowski’s anthology is different from other pulp collections on my list because he presents above all short fiction of Gold Medal Book authors like Charles Williams, John D. MacDonald, Gil Brewer, Jim Thompson, David Goodis, Day Keene, Bruno Fischer etc. and also more recent stories by Charles Willeford, Lawrence Block, Max Allan Collins, Bill Pronzini, John Lutz, Joe Gores, Harlan Ellison, Donald E. Westlake etc. You see this book’s understanding of pulp fiction is rather broad.

   After the success of the this anthology Jakubowski edited a volume with a similar receipt. There are some stories of the old pulp magazines of the Black Mask days by Gardner, Whitfield, Gruber, Steve Fisher, Norbert Davis etc. mixed with newer material by Michael Guinzburg, Mark Timlin, Marcia Muller, Joe R. Lansdale, Ed Gorman etc. This second anthology is The Mammoth Book of Pulp Action, Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2001, in the US.

HARD BOILED ANTHOLOGIES

Kittredge, William & Krauzer, Steven M. – The Great American Detective: 15 Stories Starring America’s Most Celebrated Private Eyes, New American Library, 1978.

   This is the only anthology on my list which does not contain exclusive hard-boiled and noir stories. One of the two Black Mask stories is a detective tale about Race Williams by Carroll John Daly. Other hard-boiled stories feature Sam Spade (Hammett), Philip Marlowe (Chandler), Dan Turner (Rober Leslie Bellem), Michael Shayne (Brett Halliday), Lew Archer (Ross Macdonald) and Mack Bolan, the Executioner (Don Pendleton).

   The second Black Mask story is contributed by Cornell Woolrich: “Angel Face.” But you find also tales of famous detectives like Nick Carter, The Shadow, Ellery Queen, Nero Wolfe, Perry Mason and others which are not hard-boiled. The book has a very interesting introduction of 24 pages by the editors, contains short notes before each story and some suggestions for further reading in the final chapter.

HARD BOILED ANTHOLOGIES

Nolan, William F. – The Black Mask Boys: Masters in the Hard-Boiled School of Detective Fiction, The Mysterious Press, 1987.

   The book begins with a short history of Black Mask magazine. Then comes the first hard-boiled detective tale ever printed: “Three Gun Terry,” by Carroll John Daily. It is followed by the most bloodthirsty story which Hammett has ever written: “Bodies Piled Up.”

   The other stories are also written by big names: Erle Stanley Gardner, Raoul Whitfield, Frederick Nebel, Horace McCoy, Paul Cain and Raymond Chandler. Each story is combined with a lot of information about the author and his writing for Black Mask. At the end is a checklist of mystery-detective-crime pulp magazines.

HARD BOILED ANTHOLOGIES

Penzler, Otto – The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories. Vintage Books, 2010.

   This voluminous book has 1116 pages. Containing 53 stories this anthology “is the biggest and most comprehensive collection of pulp crime fiction ever published,” writes Penzler in his foreword. The introduction is by Keith Alan Deutsch, copyright owner of Black Mask Magazine.

   The collection includes the original version of Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon. Lester Dent’s story “Luck” is in print for the first time. Besides the “usual suspects” there is a lot of reading material you would not expect: stories by Stewart Sterling, Talmadge Powell, Charles G. Booth, Richard Sale, Katherine Brocklebank, Thomas Walsh, Dwight V. Babcock, Cleve F. Adams, Day Keene, W. T. Ballard, Hugh B. Cave, C. M. Kornbluth, Cornell Woolrich and many others. There are also several names I have never heard of. All in all very good value for the price of $25.00.

HARD BOILED ANTHOLOGIES

Penzler, Otto – Pulp Fiction: The Dames, Quercus 2008.

   This is one of three anthologies of pulp fiction edited by Penzler in 2008. The other two books concern “Villains” and “Crimefighters.” The “Dames” anthology is for me the most interesting book. It is introduced by crime writer Laura Lippman.

   Besides the star authors Hammett, Chandler, Woolrich one can read fine pulp stories by writers like Eric Taylor, Randolph Barr, Robert Reeves, Roger Torrey, Eugene Thomas, T. T. Flynn and some really unknown pulp fiction writers, altogether 23 stories. At the beginning of every story is a short note about the author and his text. So you get a lot of information about pulp fiction. There is also a comic strip “Sally The Sleuth” by Adolphe Barreaux.

HARD BOILED ANTHOLOGIES

Pronzini, Bill – The Arbor House Treasury of Detective and Mystery Stories from the Great Pulps, Arbor House, 1983.

   The anthology contains 15 stories and an informative introduction about the history of the pulps. Besides the big names like Hammett, Horace McCoy, Fredric Brown, Cornell Woolrich, John D. MacDonald (twice) etc. there are stories by rather unknown writers like Dane Gregory, D. L. Champion.

   A highlight is “Holocaust House,” by Norbert Davis, the first story about private eye Doan and his dog Carstairs. Each story is combined with an informative note. So the reader can learn a lot about pulps.

HARD BOILED ANTHOLOGIES

Ruhm, Herbert – The Hard-Boiled Detective. Stories from Black Mask Magazine 1920-1951, Vintage Books, 1977.

   The book contains 14 stories and a lucid introduction of 28 pages. Besides the big names there are tales by not so well-known or meanwhile forgotten writers as Norbert Davis, Lester Dent, George Harmon Coxe, Merle Constiner, Curt Hamlin, Paul W. Fairman, Bruno Fischer and the humorous William Brandon.




HARD BOILED ANTHOLOGIES

Shaw, Joseph T. – The Hard-Boiled Omnibus: Early Stories from Black Mask, Simon & Schuster, 1946; Pocket Books, 1952.

   The book is introduced by the legendary Black Mask editor Shaw himself, the man who shaped the magazine’s hard-boiled style more than any other editor. Especially he promoted Hammett and encouraged other writers to follow his literary model.

   The hardcover edition contains 15 stories, the paperback only 12. Besides well-known stories by Hammett, Chandler, Cain, Dent and Norbert Davis’s “Red Goose,” there are rather unknown tales by Reuben Jennings Shay, Ed Lybeck, Roger Torrey, Theodore Tinsley and others. A historical milestone.

HARD BOILED ANTHOLOGIES

Weinberg, Robert E., Dziemianowicz, Stefan & Greenberg, Martin H. – Tough Guys & Dangerous Dames, Barnes & Noble Books, 1993.

   The 24 pulp stories comprehend well-known authors like Chandler, Whitfield, Dent, Gardner, Paul Cain, John D. MacDonald as well as forgotten or unknown writers like Fred MacIsaac, Paul Chadwick, Donald Wandrei and others. The story by Norbert Davis, “Murder in the Red,” is not often reprinted.

   Unusual for an anthology of this kind are also names like Fritz Leiber, Leigh Brackett and Robert Bloch. The reader gets some useful information about the contributors from the introduction by Dziemianowicz.

IT’S ABOUT CRIME, by Marvin Lachman

SHELDON JAFFREY Tales of Grim and Grue Horror Pulps

SHELDON JAFFERY, Editor – Selected Tales of Grim and Grue from the Horror Pulps. Bowling Green University Popular Press, hardcover/softcover, 1987.

   A [recent] collection of stories, Selected Tales of Grim and Grue from the Horror Pulps, edited by Sheldon Jaffery, is wonderfully nostalgia-producing. Jaffery has collected eight novelets from magazines of the thirties like Terror Tales and Horror Stories. Some of the big names in the mystery field wrote for weird-menace pulps, including Cornell Woolrich, Frank Gruber, Bruno Fischer, and Steve Fisher.

SHELDON JAFFREY Tales of Grim and Grue Horror Pulps

   Jaffery apparently couldn’t get them, but the writers he does include are probably more representative of the genre. Typical is Wyatt Blassingame’s “The Tongueless Horror” from Dime Mystery for April 1934. Don’t expect a great deal of subtlety, but they’re all readable, and the authors don’t rely on cop-outs. The seemingly impossible is explained rationally, even if the reader’s credulity is stretched a bit.

SHELDON JAFFREY Tales of Grim and Grue Horror Pulps

   The book is loaded with wonderful cliches like the one in G. T. Fleming-Roberts’ “Moulder of Monsters” (Terror Tales, July-August 1937): “Then he turned into the room where horror dwelt.” From Wayne Rogers’ “Sleep with Me — and Death” (Horror Stories, April-May 1938) we read, “Then the shaggy-haired head lifted and I caught a glimpse of a scarred and battered face, hardly recognizable as human — a face in which the eyes of a madman gleamed triumphantly.”

   All stories are reproduced from the original magazines, which means they include the wonderful pulp ads plus the interior illustrations of monsters slavering over scantily clad women. A bonus is a fine introduction and lengthy index by the late Robert Kenneth Jones, one of the real scholars in this aspect of the pulps.

   Who can resist lists of the complete contents of the single issue, in 1937, of Eerie Stories and the five issues of Uncanny Tales published in 1939 and 1940? Certainly not I.

– Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier,
Vol. 11, No. 1, Winter 1989.


SHELDON JAFFREY Tales of Grim and Grue Horror Pulps

IT’S ABOUT CRIME, by Marvin Lachman

MARTIN H. GREENBERG & FRANCIS M. NEVINS, Jr., Editors – Mr. President, Private Eye. Ballantine, paperback original, December 1988. Ibooks, softcover, 2004.

MR. PRESIDENT PRIVATE EYE

   I have long been fascinated by the “Presidential Connection,” the relationship between the mystery and the office of President of the United States. Following the triple traumas of Dallas, Vietnam, and Watergate, we had a publishing growth industry in which, literally, dozens of novels appeared featuring the President as either victim or villain.

   Now the balance has shifted, and increasingly we find the man (so far) in the Oval Office appearing as detective. In recent years many of these stories have been about real Presidents. Three different authors have even written novels in which Theodore Roosevelt is featured, and he also solves a murder in Mr. President, Private Eye, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Francis M. Nevins, Jr.

   The title is not exactly accurate, but you get the idea. Here are a dozen original stories, in each of which a real President gets to solve a crime. There is some evidence of hurried writing in this book, with anachronisms, always a danger in historical mysteries.

   Also, in two of the weaker stories in the book, there is virtually no detection by Grant and Coolidge, respectively. However, there are also some stories which will give you a great deal of pleasure. Hoch has George Washington leave a dying message clue to a mystery which Abraham Lincoln solves half a century later.

   Edward Wellen’s story about Millard Fillmore is surprisingly funny. Stuart M. Kaminsky’s mystery set in Missouri beautifully captures the simplicity and decisiveness of Harry Truman. Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Hoover detect at a Nevada silver mine in a story by Sharon McCrumb that I found to be the strongest in the book.

   Finally, there is a clever K.T. Anders story about Gerald Ford which will make you clap your hand to your forehead and say, “Of course!”

– Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier,
Vol. 11, No. 1, Winter 1989.


IT’S ABOUT CRIME, by Marvin Lachman

BLACK LIZARD

   Black Lizard’s first mystery anthology included the [Harlan] Ellison Edgar winner, “Soft Monkey.” The Second Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction, edited by Ed Gorman (trade paperback, 1988), is 664 pages long with thirty-eight short stories and a full-length novel, Murder Me for Nickels, by Peter Rabe.

   Most of the stories are reprints, but the list of authors reads like a Who’s Who of hardboiled detective fiction for the last thirty-five years, including Avallone, Max Allan Cdllins, Estleman, Gault, Hensley, Lutz, McBain, Pronzini, Spillane, Willeford, et al.

   Of the book’s three new stories, I especially liked Jon Breen’s baseball mystery about a streaker (remember them?).

   There is also a Hall of Fame quality to The Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories, edited by Bill Pronzini and Martin H. Greenberg (Carroll & Graf, trade paperback, 1988), which in its 592 pages offers stories about almost every important private eye, including Philip Marlowe in “Wrong Pigeon,” the last story Chandler wrote.

   Only Hammett (readily available elsewhere) seems to be missing among the authors who include current masters like Hansen, both Collinses (Michael and Max Allan), Lutz, Pronzini, Muller, Estleman, and Grafton. The editors also dug out early work by Carroll John Daly, Robert Leslie Bellem, Fredrick Brown, Gault, McBain, and Prather, as well as rarities: a Paul Pine story by Howard Browne and a private eye story by Ed Hoch, who doesn’t usually write in that genre.

– Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier,
Vol. 11, No. 1, Winter 1989.


Editorial Notes:   A complete list of authors for the Black Lizard anthology is as follows: Stories by Michael Avallone, Timothy Banse, Robert Bloch, Lawrence Block, Ray Bradbury, Jon Breen, Max Allan Collins, William R. Cox, John Coyne, Wayne D. Dundee, Harlan Ellison, Loren D. Estleman, Fletcher Flora, Brian Garfield, William C. Gault, Barry Gifford, Joe Gores, Ed Gorman, Joe L. Hensley, Joe R. Lansdale, Richard Laymon, John Lutz, Ed McBain, Steve Mertz, Arthur Moore, Marcia Muller, William F. Nolan, Bill Pronzini, Ray Puechner, Peter Rabe, Robert Randisi, Daniel Ransom, Mickey Spillane, Donald Westlake, Harry Willeford, Will Wyckoff, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.

   Contents for the “Mammoth” collection:  

MAMMOTH PRIVATE EYE

Raymond Chandler, ‘Wrong Pigeon’ [aka 'The Pencil'] (1971: Philip Marlowe)
Carrol John Daly, ‘Not My Corpse’ (Race Williams)
Robert Leslie Bellem, ‘Diamonds of Death’ (Dan Turner)
Fredric Brown, ‘Before She Kills’ (1961: Ed and Am Hunter)
Howard Browne, ‘So Dark For April’ (1953: Paul Pine)
William Campbell Gault, ‘Stolen Star’ (1957: Joe Puma)
Ross Macdonald, ‘Guilt-Edged Blonde’ (1953: Lew Archer)
Henry Kane, ‘Suicide is Scandalous’ (1947: Peter Chambers)
Richard S. Prather, ‘Dead Giveaway’ (1957: Shell Scott)
Joseph Hansen, ‘Surf’ (1976: Dave Brandsetter)
Michael Collins, ‘A Reason To Die’ (1985: Dan Fortune)
Ed McBain, ‘Death Flight’ (1954: Milt Davis)
Stephen Marlowe, ‘Wanted — Dead and Alive’ (1963: Chester Drum)
Edward D. Hoch, ‘The Other Eye’ (1981: Al Darlan)
Stuart M. Kaminsky, ‘Busted Blossoms’ (1986: Toby Peters)
Lawrence Block, ‘Out of the Window’ (1977: Matt Scudder)
John Lutz, ‘Ride The Lightning’ (1985: Alo Nudger)
Sue Grafton, ‘She Didn’t Come Home’ (1986: Kinsey Millhone)
Edward Gorman, ‘The Reason Why’ (1988: Jack Dwyer)
Stephen Greenleaf, ‘Iris’ (1984: John Marshall Tanner)
Bill Pronzini, ‘Skeleton Rattle Your Mouldy Leg’ (1985: Nameless Detective)
Marcia Muller, ‘The Broken Men’ (1985: Sharon McCone)
Arthur Lyons, ‘Trouble in Paradise’ (1985: Jacob Asch)
Max Allan Collins, ‘The Strawberry Teardrop’ (1984: Nate Heller)
Robert J. Randisi, ‘The Nickel Derby’ (1987: Henry Po)
Loren D. Estleman Greektown’ (1983: Amos Walker)

IT’S ABOUT CRIME, by Marvin Lachman

MWA Anthology

   Short-story anthologies are good for the reader, as well as the writer who earns some more royalties, and there are more around than usual. The Year’s Best Mystery and Suspense Stories, 1988, edited by Edward D. Hoch (Walker, 1988), inevitably contains a selection of the best of the previous year.

   It is the strongest in this series in many years and includes Harlan Ellison’s Edgar winner, “Soft Monkey,” regarding a New York bag lady, and Robert Barnard’s “The Woman in the Wardrobe,” which EQMM‘s readers selected as their favorite story of 1987.

   I’m glad editor Hoch showed no false modesty and included his own “Leopold and the Broken Bride,” the year’s best example of pure detection, in which a woman disappears as she is ready to walk down the aisle at her wedding.

   MWA’s 1988 anthology, Distant Danger, edited by Janwillem van de Wetering (Wynwood, 1988), shows both variety and quality in thirteen reprints by authors like Hoch,Gores, Lillian de la Torre, Margaret Maron, and Amanda Cross. There were also three new stories, including one by Stephanie Kay Bendel that reminds me of some of the fine short novels American Magazine once published.

– Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier,
Vol. 11, No. 1, Winter 1989.


BOUCHER ON WOOLRICH:
WHEN TITANS TOUCHED

by Francis M. Nevins

   Previously on this blog:

PART I. THE NOVELS.

PART II. THE STORY COLLECTIONS.

Part III. LETTERS, A CARD AND A MEETING.

   Boucher wrote Woolrich for the first time in the late spring of 1944, requesting permission to reprint a story in his anthology Great American Detective Stories (World, 1945). Replying on June 5, Woolrich recommended that Boucher use the 1938 “Endicott’s Girl,” which he called “my favorite among all the stories I’ve ever written.”

Anthony Boucher

   Boucher didn’t care for that one, as he explained in a July 19 letter to World editor William Targ: “It has in extreme measure the frequent Woolrich flaw – a fine emotional story which ends with loose ends all over the place and nothing really explained.”

   Instead Boucher opted for “Finger of Doom” (1940), which he retitled “I Won’t Take a Minute.” The new title was retained when the story was included in The Ten Faces of Cornell Woolrich (1965). “Endicott’s Girl” remained uncollected until I put it in Night and Fear (2004).

   On July 20, one day after his letter to Targ, Boucher wrote Woolrich again: “In the past month or two I’ve read over 30 [of your] pulp stories. And even from such a dose as that I still feel no indigestion; which means, I take it, that you are (as I have suspected all along) the goods. Keep ’em coming!”

   Woolrich’s reply, dated July 23, solved a puzzle for me. I had long suspected that his “The Penny-a-Worder” (1958; first collected in Nightwebs, 1971), which is about a pulp writer who has to hack out a story overnight to go with an already completed front cover illustration, was based on personal experience.

Cornell Woolrich

   After finding the July 23 letter among Boucher’s papers at the Lilly Library I knew it for a fact. In it Woolrich mentioned that he particularly remembers his story “Guns, Gentlemen” (1937; collected as “The Lamp of Memory” in Beyond the Night, 1959) “because I wrote it to match up with the cover of the magazine, which they sent me.” This doesn’t mean, of course, that he wrote the story in a single night!

   On a file card dating from 1950 or early 1951, when he was co-editing The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Boucher set down his reaction to the idea of reprinting Woolrich’s novella “Jane Brown’s Body” (1938). “This brilliantly macabre concept spoiled for me by 2 things: a.) My pet irritation of writing exclusively in present tense; b.) A pulp plot so formulaly obvious that each step can be accurately forecast. Inept, for Woolrich, but because of his name let’s include.”

   It was reprinted in the magazine’s October 1951 issue and collected in The Fantastic Stories of Cornell Woolrich (1981).

Cornell Woolrich

   Boucher finally met Woolrich while on a visit to New York in April 1965. He died without writing about the encounter but his widow, Phyllis White, was present and described it for me before her own death:

    “[W]e were in a restaurant with some MWA members after a private viewing of a film…. Clayton Rawson [then managing editor of EQMM] told us that before going home he was going to drop in on Cornell Woolrich, who was convalescing from surgery, and he suggested that we come along.

    “Of course Tony was thrilled at the prospect. We went to the hotel room where Woolrich was temporarily quartered. One eye had been operated on and he was to go back after an interval for an operation on the other. [Saint Mystery Magazine editor] Hans Santesson was there trying to look after him. He was supposed to go easy on drinking so he was sticking to wine. Santesson kept suggesting pleasantly but ineffectively that he slow down.

    “The room had until recently been used for storage of furniture. It was in good enough condition except for lacerated wallpaper. Woolrich complained that the hotel staff was sneering and laughing at him behind his back. Rawson asked Woolrich whether he had anything lying around that would be suitable for reprint in EQMM.

Cornell Woolrich

    “Woolrich rummaged around and turned up something. There was a bit of comic pantomime in which Rawson started to look at the story and then tried to hide it from rival editor Santesson peering over his shoulder.

    “The only dramatic incident of the evening was missed by Rawson, who had to leave to catch his train. The door opened suddenly and a crowing man burst in with a girl and a bottle. The hotel had mistakenly sent him to that room and he was indignant on finding us there…

    “The intruder withdrew, leaving Woolrich convinced that this was another part of the conspiracy against him. Eventually we left but it wasn’t easy. Woolrich thought that people who went away, no matter how long they had stayed, were leaving because they didn’t like him. Tony was delighted that he had finally met Woolrich, and at the same time thought that it wouldn’t do his own nerves any good to see too much of him… ”

   He needn’t have worried. They never met again. Boucher died of lung cancer on April 29, 1968, at the unbearably early age of 56; Woolrich of a stroke on September 25, a little more than two months before his 65th birthday. Just a few months apart. Forty years ago this year. May they rest in peace.

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