All of the books I reviewed in Mystery.File 1 are now online (and the reviews are all that Mystery.File 1 consisted of). I printed out two copies of this particular version of Mystery*File in January 1987. One went to my good friend and fellow mystery enthusiast, the late and greatly missed Ellen Nehr, in a letter dated January 16th, and I found the other here in a file folder not too long ago.

   It’s possible I used the reviews in a DAPA-Em zine after that, but if I didn’t, they’ve seen the light of day for general consumption for the first time here on the M*F blog.

   I didn’t add a letter grade to the books I reviewed in that issue, but to close out the issue, I ranked the books in order, according to how I enjoyed them at the time. “Keep in mind,” I said, “that this is very subjective — and subject to change from moment to moment ….”

1. EDWARD S. AARONS – Assignment: Zoraya
2. VICTORIA SILVER – Death of a Harvard Freshman
3. GEORGE HARMON COXE – Murder for Two
4. ALBERT CONROY – Devil in Dungarees
5. L. A. TAYLOR – Only Half a Hoax
6. JOHN PENN – A Deadly Sickness
7. S. F. X. DEAN – Such Pretty Toys
8. RICHARD S. PRATHER – Over Her Dear Body
9. KARIN BERNE – False Impressions
10. BOB McKNIGHT – Running Scared
11. STEPHEN GREENLEAF – Beyond Blame
12. TALMAGE POWELL – Man-Killer
13. JAYNE CASTLE – The Chilling Deception
14. FREDERICK D. HUEBNER – The Joshua Sequence
15. THEODORA WENDER – Murder Gets a Degree
16. NICK O’DONOHOE – Wind Chill
17. BENJAMIN WOLFF – Hyde and Seek

   The reviews in full can be found by using the search box in the column to the right of the text, if you so wish. (Rankings can tell you something, but not as much as you might think.) I enjoyed reading what I had to say back then, some 22 years ago, and I hope you have, too.

   But there is nothing unusual in pointing out reviews that I’ve written that may have been seen by only two people. I have many reviews in my “archives” that have been seen by only one person (me), while others have been seen by up to a 100 or so, and when I was reviewing for the Hartford Courant (back in the 1970s), a hefty multiple of that, one hopes.

   The very first issue of Mystery*File was dated only by the year, 1974. The second gave the month also: July 1974. The first version of M*F ran only 8 issues, including one numbered 5A, for what reason I no longer recall. Number 7 was dated May 1975.

   There have been many start-ups and shutdowns along the way since then, including several changes of title, with Fatal Kiss being the most common. While of course there were articles and checklists in each that were contributed by other people, a good chunk of them had reviews in them that I’d written, usually a dozen or more at a time.

   When I wasn’t publishing my own zine, my reviews appeared in Guy Townsend’s The MYSTERY FANcier and other zines, hundreds of them. (One full issue of TMF has been cannibalized, so to speak, with a big chunk of it having appeared here on the blog over the past year or so — not only my stuff, but by others who I’ve been able to track down and persuade that their past activities need not be hidden forever.)

   And when I was between zines willing to print my reviews, I wrote them anyway, of movies as well as books, and they’re all in my files, never seen by anyone by me.

   So with all of these old reviews of mine on tap and available, I’d never have to read another book or watch another movie to keep this blog going in the direction it’s been heading over the past few months.

   I’ve never had a clear focus or goal in mind since I started the blog version of Mystery*File, and I think it’s about time I established one. I seem to be running out of steam in writing reviews of books I’ve recently read, but (as you may have noticed) I’ve found a whole new world of interest in collecting and watching movies on VHS or DVD, both old and new. And if not all of them have crime-related components, so be it.

   (I suppose I could start another blog to review movies which aren’t criminous, but a number that aren’t have already been covered here, so it’s too late. A precedent has been set.)

   Mixing them in with any new ones that I write, I’ll continue postng older, “archived” reviews and short articles (like George Kelley’s recent one about the Joe Gall series). Taken from old fanzines (of which I have a great supply on hand), most of this material has never been read by more than a couple of hundred people at the most, and with permission of the various authors, it’s time to make it available to the whole world via the Internet.

   I’d love to do longer articles and author profiles, but I have too many interests and other obligations, and I no longer have the time. I’d gladly publish them here, but they’re going to have to be done by someone else.

   So that’s the plan. It’s subject to change, but what in this world isn’t?