Reprint Of The Year 2022 – The Sharp Quillet by Brian Flynn

Ugh. I’m not well – some sort of persistent horrible cold that just doesn’t want to clear up along with a couple of sleepless nights. What would make me feel better? Well. I could write about some great books that were released this year. Or re-released in fact. Why not, let’s take the time to do my second nomination for the Reprint Of The Year award?

This is, as ever, curated by Kate over at Cross Examining Crime. I’ve already done my first nomination, namely Carter Dickson’s The White Priory Murders. Now it’s time for my next one – The Sharp Quillet by Brian Flynn.

To be honest, The Sharp Quillet is standing as the representative of the five books that Dean Street Press released this year in the Anthony Bathurst range. They were the wonderfully titled The Case Of Elymas The Sorcerer, the distinctly odd Conspiracy At Angel and three very traditional-style mysteries, The Sharp Quillet, Exit Sir John and The Swinging Death.

On the vaguest off-chance you still haven’t heard of Brian, he wrote fifty-three mystery novels between 1927 and 1958 featuring super-sleuth Anthony Lotherington Bathurst. They come in a variety of styles, mostly straight-out traditional whodunnits, some leaning more towards thrillers, and at least one – Conspiracy At Angel – that almost defies classification.

The Sharp Quillet is a typical Bathurst adventure – a bizarre murder takes place, when Justice Nicholas Flagon drops dead in the final straight of the Bar Point-to-Point horse race, hit by a poisoned dart – the sort of dart one normally finds in a pub next to a dartboard. More deaths follow, including a race against time to try and save a final victim. There’s a nice element in the finale where, as Bathurst tries to track the killer down, he realises that the killer isn’t going to fall into his trap because they’re much smarter than he gave them credit for.

Why vote for it as Reprint Of The Year? Because Dean Street Press do such a wonderful job of reprinting an entire run of an author. The British Library do sterling work, but when you find the right author, you want to be able to read all of their work – and with Dean Street Press, you can do.

Thirty-five books down, eighteen to go – and there are certainly plans for the next five next year.  And what would be a good way to persuade Dean Street Press to keep doing more? Well, voting for The Sharp Quillet would be a good start…

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