I turned in the manuscript for my next big annotated volume, Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920’s, to Pegasus Books back in early January, as promised, and settled back to be bored between books. Then came a shock: At the last minute, the owners of the rights to the Hardy Boys mysteries decided that we couldn’t include The Tower Treasure. Because I’d already done all of the research and annotating and even the proofing, it would be an understatement to say that this was disappointing.
What to do? To my utter surprise, my ace agent Don Maass pulled together a last-minute a deal to include Dashiell Hammett’s brilliant first novel, Red Harvest. This was great news–a book that I had wanted from the first but thought unavailable. Only one problem: To keep to the announced publication of October 2018, it was going to be a real fire-drill to do all of the research, annotations, assembly of images, and proofreading.
Well, I’m pleased to say that, with the inestimable help of my tireless “assistant”–my dear wife Sharon–we did it, finishing today! I’m thrilled, and so is the publisher and so is Otto Penzler, who wrote a fine intro for the book. He always regarded the inclusion of the Hardy Boys book as an oddity, though I argue that it’s important to examine those stories, along with the Nancy Drew mysteries, as the “gateway drug” for many, many mystery readers.
Now all I need to do is to figure out what to do with a whole bunch of annotations that I have left over!