In May this year I noticed that the books sold in the Scorpion Press series of signed limiteds were mainly by the stalwarts of crime writing. The American James Lee Burke and Ruth Rendell and a lovely anthology. One of my customers collects fine bindings and anthologies, having them all the ones we issued except the very first one from 1992 which had a host of superb names in British crime writing.
The Man Who … was a specially commissioned collection of short stories edited by the late H R F Keating. It was a book like no other in the sense that its contributors spanned half a century of crime writing. Eric Ambler was famous for his pre-war spy thrillers and Len Deighton was famous for his Cold War spy fiction; then you have Michael Gilbert who wrote just after the war with numerous whodunits, and again the 50s Michael Underwood gave us tricky legal cases; later in the 70s to the recent period Simon Brett, Peter Lovesey and Reginald Hill gave us some of the finest crime with irony and humour; Antonia Fraser, the historian is also a noted crime writer with a female detective. Then of course, we have the queens of crime – P D James and Ruth Rendell. Harry Keating himself wrote a story. They all paid homage to Julian Symons (author of many books with “The Man who… ” title). It was a terrific collection in an exceptional alum tawned goat binding and special box.
Another customer picked out a Ruth Rendell and another his missing James Lee Burke’s.