I’ve never had any dealings with the publishers Robert Hale, but I am full of admiration for the way in which they have achieved the publication of all the previously uncollected short stories by that wonderful writer Michael Gilbert.
The latest book of Gilbert stories has just landed on my doorstep, courtesy of Tangled Web UK, for whom I shall be reviewing the collection. It’s called The Murder of Diana Devon and Other Mysteries, and it’s been edited by John Cooper (co-author of a wonderful book about collecting detective fiction which I’d love to see reissued and brought up to date.)
Cooper says in his introduction that Gilbert ‘was one of the greatest crime writers to emerge after World War II’. He was awarded the CWA’s Cartier Diamond Dagger and both the Mystery Writers of America and the Swedish Academy of Detection honoured him as a Grand Master. He published 30 novels and no fewer than 185 short stories, all of which have now been gathered together in 14 volumes.
Gilbert was a fluent and varied writer, and although Smallbone Deceased is widely regarded as his masterpiece, many of his other novels can still be read with enormous pleasure. I’ve mentioned some of them on this blog over the last couple of years. He was equally adept at the short form, and I’m anticipating The Murder of Diana Devon with a great deal of pleasure.