Comments: 16
Murder by Death 6 months ago
Excellent review! It never ceases to amaze me some of the things that endure vs. those that fade. That's part of the beauty of national libraries though; there's always the chance of re-discovery and for quality to win out in the end. I hope.
BrokenTune 6 months ago
Thank you. I felt like a total geek at the NLS, but I loved everything about it. :)
Also, their door handles are pretty cool, and their cafe had an amazing, homemade mushroom soup. Reading is hungry business.
Murder by Death 6 months ago
Sounds divine! From start to finish - I'd have loved every minute of it too. :)
I'll have to grudgingly forgo the side dish / soup, but I've now made it a matter of ambition to track down a copy of this book ... even if I'm not going to be able to resort to a National Library located in an English speaking country any time soon ...!
BrokenTune 6 months ago
The trouble with trying to find this book is that - because of the connection with Bond - it seems to retail at around £275 (as offered on eBay yesterday). Used condition, obviously. That is already a steep drop from last year's prices. I really liked the book, but I would not say it is worth THAT much.

So, finding it in a library is not a bad option.
Oh, finding it in a / any library would be great; I just don't think that'll be an option any time soon. Though I'm definitely *not* going to pay a triple digit amount for it, either. (Yikes.) Which is why I said I've made it a matter of ambition -- I'm not expecting to just go out and stumble across it somewhere.
BrokenTune 6 months ago
I'm really surprised that nobody has re-printed this one...nevermind the quality of the writing or the story, but the Bond connection alone may have promised a return on investment.
Yes, that really *is* surprising. Well, OTOH Francis Duncan's publishers -- or today's incarnation of them -- didn't even know who he was anymore ... they were caught totally wrong-footed when the reissue of "Murder for Christmas" was such a hit, and actually had to run ads asking the reading public for information, and that's how his daughter got in touch with them and how she, in turn, got to read his books for the first time. Maybe there's a similar story here ... the publishers haven't really caught on to the Bond connection (yet)? Because surely with all the money that seems to be made republishing anything that was written in the first half of the 20th century and that even vaguely fits into the crime / thriller / spy novel corner, it's not like they wouldn't find a market for this, even without the Bond connection but, as you said, even more so *with* that added bonus?!
Anyway, I see you've stocked up on the biography front ...
Well, well. Wouldn't you know ... internet libraries to the rescue:

https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.209791
BrokenTune 6 months ago
Ha! Brilliant! Thanks for the link.
BrokenTune 6 months ago
Also, yeah, I wouldn't have thought Faber and Faber would let this get away. Maybe there is a rights issue?

I had to get the biography. Despite some hilarious quirks in her writing, there are some rather progressive ideas in her books, and I would like to know more about her. She was also a friend of Ezra Pound's and Daphne du Maurier's - pretty much fitted in with the whole literary set I gather, which makes it even more sad that she never seems to be mentioned.
And of course, there is the aspect of her husband being in the Secret Service and how this has informed some of the stories.
All of which just screams "read this!" to me.
All of that does sound interesting, yes. Well, you'll know which read of yours I'll be following closely now ...

Btw, it says on archive.org that the copy available for download there is without copyright limitations -- and it actually would have to be, for archive.org to be able to make the whole book available online. Hmmm. The puzzle remains ...!
BrokenTune 6 months ago
It is puzzling. I have a suspicion that there is a loophole in copyright law that may be at the root of this. I have so many questions about this! Was it published on archive.org because the original copyright in the US (if there had been one...the copy they used wasn't printed in the US) had lapsed or was it subject to one of the exclusions that allows public use if the work is not commercially available elsewhere, or is it something else?
In any case, copyright in the UK will continue for another 15 years. So, until then we're just going to have to rely on archive.org uploading more of her stuff...or someone at Faber and Faber to have a brainwave.
Or maybe it's because the copy on archive.org originates from India? It *is* a Faber & Faber edition, though, so I'm going to assume it was printed in England ...
BrokenTune 6 months ago
It seems to have been. It does not say it was printed in India...and it does look like a copy of the original 1946 edition - even including the "rationing" disclaimer.