finished reading Mysteries
Unlocked: Essays in Honor of Douglas G. Greene. This was a project organized
by Curt Evans in honor of Doug’s 70th birthday. While not
technically a history of the genre, it might as well be. The essays stretch
from JS Fletcher (when I was younger, I did believe that the J was for “Jessica”
as in Murder She Wrote) to PD James. While so many of the books I read travel a
well-known path of authors and their works, I was very pleased by the amount of
original research done for this book. There were essays on Carolyn Wells, the
aforementioned Mr. Fletcher, and Patrick Quentin.
The Quentin essay was
one of my favorites in the book. Quentin has long been a favorite author, but the
exact provenance of each book was somewhat in question. Four authors wrote as
Patrick Quentin/Q Patrick/Jonathan Stagge. Richard Webb collaborated with all
three of the other authors, making him the sole common factor in their
creation. None of the others working in collaboration with each other.
Each of the pen names
has wonderful books. Q Patrick released The
Grindle Nightmare, which is roundly praised. (For my xxth
birthday, I received a signed first of this book, so I’ll be blogging on it
As Patrick Quentin,
Webb and Hugh Wheeler wrote the Peter Duluth series of mysteries. The series
later would swap detectives for Lt. Timothy Trant, but the first few books in
the series are a delight. In A Puzzle for
Fools, the first in the series, Peter meets Iris while they are both in a
My favorite in the series is A Puzzle for Wantons, with a wonderful puzzle and a wicked solution. I’ll be posting another blog entry on that book alone soon.
*** Note: in the spirit of self-disclosure, I do have an essay in Mysteries Unlocked, but I do not receive any remuneration from it.