I mentioned Crippen & Landru the other day in connection with their new book by Philip Wylie. A few years back, I co-edited one of their books, a Lost Classic, featuring obscure stories by Edith Pargeter, aka Ellis Peters - The Trinity Cat and Other Mysteries.
My co-editor was Sue Feder. She was someone I never met, but she was a great fan of, and expert in, the work of Ellis Peters. Doug Greene introduced us via email and we corresponded about the various unpublished (in volume form) stories that Peters had written and which might be suitable for the collection. Sue’s enthusiasm was infections, and it was a sad blow when, some time before the book was published, she died after a long fight against serious illness.
I’ve been involved in various literary collaborations over the years, and I think of the Peters venture with considerable affection. The stories in The Trinity Cat, by and large, are set in fictionalised versions of her beloved Shropshire Many of them were written in the 50s, but they retain their charm, I think. She was a capable writer, though I’d describe her plotting as workmanlike rather than brilliant. Agatha Christie she was not –but she was much better than the great Agatha at evoking place.
I like to think Sue Feder would have been proud of ‘our book’. It was a pleasure to collaborate with her, albeit at a distance. It’s an odd thing, by the way, but three of the books I’ve produced over the years have been co-written with people whom, for one reason or another, I never actually got to meet.