If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our April author interviews: Perennial author Susan Wittig Albert--4/5, Sasscer Hill, horse racing insider--4/12, English historical, cozy author, TE Kinsey--4/19, Debut author, Susan Bickford--4/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in April: Heather Baker Weidner (4/1), Christina Hoag (4/8), Susan Boles (4/29). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 4/15--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 4/22--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th. In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Ellery Queen on Book collectors by Warren Bull

Ellery Queen on Book collectors by Warren Bull

In the Queen’s Parlor and Other Leaves from the Editor’s Notebook by Ellery Queen was published in 1957. The author(s) present fifty snippets of writing about including anecdotes, reflections and reminiscences. All of them have to do with telling mystery stores. It is the equivalent of inside baseball as told by baseball insiders.  

One of the topics that interested me was book collections and book collectors. I have a modest mystery book collection of my own. This section of the book is called: Evolution of a Biblomanic.  Queen describes four stages of evolution. The earliest stage is the fledgling stage in which a person surrounds himself or herself with a menagerie of books on a variety of topics in a variety of conditions for the purpose of reading. To satisfy what George Bernard Show calls a “dangerous amusement” the pre-collector gloms onto whatever looks interesting about whatever subject matter appeals at the moment.

However, Queen warns that a virus may have been contracted with alarming symptoms such as looking at his or her piles and experiencing pain that can be relived only by replacing perfectly readable books with the first edition of those same books. The person now revels in the identification of self as a Connoisseur.

Should the symptoms worsen the person will be next seized by the desire to have not only first editions, but first editions in the finest state of preservation. He or she seeks books as pristine as when they came hot off the press. Along side the desire for pristine books comes an even greater problem, the desire for original dust jackets. Without question the collector has now entered the realm of a Fanatic. Queen suggests that in this state the word bibliophile may also be spelled “biblofool.”
Unfortunately there is one more level with even more severe symptoms.  Unsatisfied by the mint condition books that rest side by side, and may never be read, the person plunges deeply into the depths by haunting bookstores, online purveyors of all things written and auctions.  The person is now in pursuit of books that meet the highest standards and have been inscribed by the author. At this point the poor person (and he or she may be poor as the result of paying for first editions) is now in the full stage of bibliomanic.

Queen states the attraction of signed first editions is that the owner has a totally unique work. This is followed by thoughts about inscriptions. Queen, of course, has written many. The author notes that, while mundane messages are highly valued, on occasion the author pens something personal. As examples cited were, Katherine Anne Porter who once wrote: “I wish I knew how to inscribe books, but I don’t.” Israel Zangwill once wrote at a forty-five degree angle: “Don’t read the last page in the middle.” Richard Harding Davis once struggled to find a way to avoid the hackneyed best wishes. Opposite the last printed page he repeated the last line of the book: “You sign it,” he said. — Richard Harding Davis.

I could continue but I don’t want to steal the fun of discovery from those who have not read the book.  There is no plot and little mystery but, if you want to know what one or two of the great mystery writers and publishers thought about, this is the book to read.


Jacqueline Seewald said...


It does sound interesting. I'm also a book collector as are most readers. But alas, few first editions!

Gloria Alden said...

I'm a big book collector, but not of first editions. I have a brother-in-law who sounds like the one he describes, but I don't know that he goes to auctions. He does haunt bookshops in the Seattle area as well as the ones in Portland and wherever he goes on my sister's and his travels.

jrlindermuth said...

Anyone who reads can become afflicted with this disease. But, oh, it's so much fun. Seems like Queen has diagnosed the ailment and issued a good warning on what happens when it runs to extremes. Enjoyed the post, Warren.

Margaret Turkevich said...

interesting! I'm in a book purging mode--if I'll never look at it again out it goes--but I have some old family books I want to keep.