Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Beginning with Less of a Bash

Beginning with a Bash really didn’t. The first book written in the series featuring Leonidas Witherall really didn’t begin the series. The first book was published in Mystery League, the short lived (only 4 issues) magazine edited by the two men writing as Ellery Queen, appearing in 1933.

In it, Witherall is working as a janitor in a bookstore, a far cry from his later work as a schoolmaster and writer of the Lieutenant Hazeltine thrillers under a pen name (as Alice Tilton was a pen name for Phoebe Atwood Taylor.) However, the familiar lightning speed action, amiable crooks and high-spirited yet society minded women all appear in this first book.

Once the book appeared in Mystery League, the hilarious tale could find no publisher in the United States. The book was published in the UK by Collins Crime Club. It did not appear until the Norton reprinted series in 1972.

So while the book does not appear on the copyright renewal registry in the United States, it really has no reason to be since it was not copyrighted until 1972, meaning that it remains under copyright until 2051. Regardless, St. Swithin opted to create an eBook version of the title and sells it despite the copyright issues.

It’s no surprise that Taylor’s works are as confusing as their plotlines. 

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