- Paperback: 223 pages
- Publisher: McFarland (February 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786433205
- ISBN-13: 978-0786433209
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
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Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography
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"Impressive...no one with an interest in Boucher...will want to miss this book." --Mystery Scene
"A very welcome study." --The District Messenger
"Will no doubt be the standard biograghy of Anthony Boucher...impressive." --Mythprint
About the Author
Jeffrey Marks is the author of several books. He received an Ohioana Library Citation for his work in the mystery field and garnered nominations for such major mystery awards as the Edgar, the Agatha, and the Anthony. He lives and teaches near Cincinnati, Ohio.
Top customer reviews
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William Parker White took on the pseudonym of Anthony Boucher for his genre work, while reserving his birth name for more serious writing. Not much of that occurred, but what he wrote under the name Boucher has given millions of readers delight.. Severe asthma made his earthly existence miserable, but to his credit, he lived life to the max and never said never. To each his own, but I find Boucher's own fiction writing much superior to his other services to the mystery field, and for fans of Boucher's crime novels Marks' big reveal is the existence of a complete and unpublished Dr. Ashwin novel, The Case of the Toad-in-the-Hole, sitting in the Lilly Library just waiting for a publisher. Marks' synopsis makes the mouth water! One ticket to Bloomington, please....
The money was in editing and freelance projects, though, and Boucher had a family to support, so that he gradually abandoned fiction for the greener pastures of anthologies and reviewing. He became the mystery reviewer for the SF Chronicle, the New York Times Book Review, and for EQMM. He was also an extraordinarily clubby man, always starting new professional organizations and helping others in need, and he was loved by his colleagues. I'm in the minority but I don't see that he was ever a critic per se, and Marks doesn't persuade me that he was anything but a reviewer. Nor does Marks pursue the ethical implications of Boucher's reviewing practice and the way in which one hand almost proverbially washed the other. EQMM employed Boucher, who often enough voted a Queen novel among the best of the year; in fact, he ghostwrote for Ellery Queen, perpetuating the fraud upon the public which has stained the reputations of the cousins ever since. Boucher praised his friends, boosted the careers of others in his groups. Which is all very well, but this entanglement of honoraria, fees, cultural cachet, and invisible strings leads down some dark little alleys aesthetically speaking. You can see this principle working today, where any hack who goes to enough MWA meetings will eventually be named a Grand Master of something.
But this is not to take away from Jeffrey Marks' accomplishment--nor Boucher's really, who remains among the top ten US detective novelists ever. Marks has laid out the lineaments of his career, and placed his subject in the context of the complicated historical and social trajectories of his time--just as he did for Craig Rice and for the postwar female crime writers he treated in his 2003 group biography Atomic Renaissance. I can't wait to see where he goes next. And please somebody, get on the stick and bring us the Case of the Toad-in-the-Hole. It would sell like hotcakes I'm sure.
What a shame. I frankly doubt there was ANY proofreading, or copy editing of any kind. You don't have to be knowledgeable about Boucher's books to note mistakes riddling this volume, as that other reader does. You'll have enough trouble just trying to make sense of much of the text, wading through careless repetitions on one hand and mysterious omissions on the other, with obvious grammatical errors throughout. But it WILL be worth the trouble, if you love Boucher and his chosen fields of mystery and science fiction. You will find much to learn about this remarkable man. But you'll have to put up with a lot of sloppiness along the way, so unworthy of a book about a man who distinguished himself as an editor.
To take just Boucher's first novel, "The Case of the Seven of Calvary," we are told (p. 32) that Ryder is the Sanskrit translation of Ashwin. The text says the opposite. On the same page we are told that Ashwin exclaimed. "My dear Martin, this isn't a detective novel etc., etc." It was Paul Lennox who did the exclaiming, AND that exclamation is listed by Ashwin as one of the seven (or eight) crucial events that suggest the true solution of the crimes. (Chapter X, p. 247 in the first edition).
Again, Mr. Marks tells us that in the short mystery story "Death of a Patriarch" the accused but innocent victim of the murdered man is kidnapped by communists. Boucher was a thirties and forties liberal for whom the communists were admirable folk. In the real story the young man is kidnapped by ANTI-communists (who are naturally called "fascists")
After that I've read most of his mystery novels and short stories. I discovered with Mr. Mark's book, that there is more to read.
Boucher was a true Renaissance man who could have produced more had it not been for his poor health.
He was certainly a man to admire. The largest of the mystery cons, Bouchercon, was named in his honor.
I learned more about this extraordinary man, the history of mystery writing in the 20th century and much about Boucher's reviewing standards and ethics.
Jeff Marks has done the mystery community a great favor and done it well.
Recommended for the true mystery aficionado.