I am often asked, “Who is your favourite author?” I try to avoid a direct answer to this question because like the sultan in his harem I have “many favourites.” Yet I especially favour one prolific writer. Way back in the 1950s, I began to I collect his books, and by now I have copies of his seventy-odd novels and story collections.
The author is Sax Rohmer, and he is remembered these days – when at all – as the creator of the arch-villain Dr. Fu Manchu. My good luck is to be involved in the publication of first editions of two new works by the British author. They are appearing 54 years after his death.
Pipe Dreams brings together Rohmer’s “occasional writings” – 35 articles, sketches, and memoirs that shed light on his interest in sorcery, occultism, music hall personalities, Harry Houdini, writing, etc. The Crime Magnet consists of a series of 16 crime-detection stories originally issued between 1937 and 1945. They feature the eccentric Major Bernard de Treville and his sidekick Digger. They are collected here for the first time.
I have introduced both volumes. The first one bears a foreword by Lawrence Knapp, the second one a foreword by Gene Christie, both gentlemen recognized as commentators on crime fiction. The publisher of trade paperback editions of these titles is The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box.