Yes, it’s finally here. Today’s the day that the first ten Anthony Bathurst mystery novels are finally back in print, for the first time in most cases in nearly ninety years. It’s been 1000 days, give or take, since I first reviewed a book by Brian Flynn, the unfairly-forgotten classic The Mystery Of The Peacock’s Eye, and probably about 999 days since I started bugging the British Library and Dean Street Press about him.
Thankfully, the BL ignored me, otherwise we’d probably only be looking at the one title, but eventually Dean Street Press saw the light/decided the easiest way to shut me up was to reprint them (delete as applicable).
Just in case anyone thinks my constant banging on about the books is advertising, it’s really not – I’m not getting paid for this. For me, this is a labour of love, nothing more. Of all the obscure authors that I’ve come across, Brian Flynn is the one that I most wanted other people to be able to read. It’s hard to put my finger exactly on what made me push so hard to get Brian back into print.
In part, it’s because after too many years blogging, I was looking to do something in the field beyond blethering on about how great/terrible books were. Also, though, it was the fact that there are few authors who I enjoy reading as much as Brian, and yet other, less enjoyable authors were the ones who were being reprinted.
By less enjoyable, I mean in relative terms. In my opinion, though, The Mystery Of The Peacock’s Eye, The Murders Near Mapleton and The Creeping Jenny Mystery stand head and shoulders above most of the reprints out there, and the other seven titles aren’t far behind. Fans of realism in crime fiction might struggle with a few bits and bobs, but they’d struggle with Dame Agatha, John Dickson Carr and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle too, so Brian’s in good company.
So I’d like to thank some people for helping to make this happen – my sister-in-law, Susie, for buying me The Mystery Of The Peacock’s Eye in the first place, my wife, Professor Puzzle Doctor (she’s had a promotion) for tracing Brian’s heirs, Brian’s family for all their help with the introductions and for The Triple Bite, and, of course, Dean Street Press who have done a stunning job with the books. The physical books are things of beauty and using the original cover images, where possible, is a great touch. Their dedication to putting these out as accurately as possible is amazing – even to the extent of correcting an obscure typo in the US version of The Case Of The Black Twenty-Two.
So, I do hope you give Brian a go – I’d recommend starting with The Mystery Of The Peacock’s Eye and then heading back to the beginning. There is an element of continuity throughout the books – Brian has a habit of referring back to earlier cases, although never spoiling those books – so reading them in order adds a smidge of something, but it’s by no means essential.
And to answer a question that I’ve been asked a few times – will there be more reprints after these? Well, it depends on how well these do. So if you enjoy them, tell your friends – to be precise, tell your friends to buy them too. I would love to see the entire canon back in print – if nothing else, it’ll save me a fortune tracking down the books that I haven’t got. Oh, and if you know someone with a copy of The Edge Of Terror or The League of Matthias that we can borrow to source the text from, do let me know…
EXTRA BLOG READER EXCLUSIVE:
And finally, for those extra special readers who have put up with me over the years banging the drum, here is an exclusive extra!
Yes, that is the actual chair that Brian sat in when writing his books. Honest! See, you don’t get that sort of bonus content every day!