I’ve just received my copy of the latest title published by Crippen & Landru, a wonderful American small press. This is Ten Thousand Blunt Instruments, by Philip Wylie, a writer of whom I must admit I’ve never heard. But Doug Greene, who created Crippen & Landru, is a sound judge, and I’m sure it is a book packed with interest.
My confidence is reinforced by a fascinating short introduction to the book by Bill Pronzini. I’ve never met Pronzini, but I’ve read some of his stories, and also his two wonderful and witty Gun in Cheek books, which celebrate some of the wackiest crime books of all time, by the likes of Harry Stephen Keeler.
Pronzini says Wylie included but was not limited to psychology, philosophy, biology, ethnology, technology, physics, atomic energy, modern education, women’s rights, environmental issues, engineering, UFOs, deep-sea fishing, orchid growing, Hollywod film-making, mainstream science fiction, and mystery and detective fiction.’ Wow!
Pronzini also outlines the remarkably wide range of books that Wylie, who died almost 40 years ago, published. The blurb of the book, which comprises six longish stories, describes Wylie’s detective fiction as ‘among the most ingenious and innovative of his generation’. Sounds fascinating. Doug does a great job in exhuming forgotten classics – I encourage mystery fans everywhere to support his efforts, and those of fellow American Fender Tucker, of Ramble House.