Friday, October 22, 2010

Ed here: I ran this back in ought seven. Chuck Runyon has passed by now sad to say but my admiration for Steve Lewis' site is today even stronger. An invaluable history of the entire mystery-suspense genre with such heavyweights as Alan J. Hubin, David L. Vineyard and Francis M. Nevins among the many fine contributors. Not least Steve himself.

The care and feeding of yesterday

While there are many good sites dealing with current fiction, there are only a few that deal with the fiction of past times with any intelligence. Nostalgia is riveting for up to ninety seconds. Then you want much more.

Steve Lewis' Mysteryfile blog is my favorite site for a serious look at the mystery fiction of the past century. Many well-known writers including Bill Pronzini have contributed fine articles about forgotten writers and forgotten books. Virtually every day Steve runs a new piece, often illustrated with book jackets, as he works his way toward the ultimate collection of mystery criticism.

Today he's running a long interview I did with Charles Runyon. Chuck was in the last wave of the Gold Medal suspense writers. For me he was the best of that group. As his interview attests, he's also led a life most of us probably view with a bit of envy and even more of a bit of shock. Thanks to Stark House, one of his best novels THE PRETTIEST GIRL I EVER KILLED will soon be back in print. With others, hopefully, to follow.

Steve recently reviewed an Edward S. Aarons Sam Durrell spy novel. Even though the book was published in 1956, Steve assesses it with the same zeal and insight he would a new novel. No gauzy nostalgia here.

And that's what makes his site so valuable to me. There are so many new books I want to read that I need some guidance into the past. You can waste a lot of time and money on old books that aren't worth reading. But with the Mysteryfile blog you usually get a hepful judgment on the book at hand.

And there's always the bonus that it's just a hell of a lot of fun to read and look at.

1 comment:

Todd Mason said...

And I mostly remember Runyon for work for FANTASTIC and F&SF...stuff cited in the biblio..