After our move to Ohio a couple of years ago, we faced the daunting task of dealing with all our books. We still don't have all the shelving we want in our house here. It's a slow process getting that all figured out, especially with an old house where nothing is standard. Those nice six foot tall bookcases that we brought from our previous homes, don't work as well in rooms with 11 and 13 foot ceilings! So a lot of our books are still in boxes, slowly getting unpacked as we find time and shelf space.
It's been a lot of fun to rediscover books in our collection, and one of those rediscoveries was P.M. Carlson's AUDITION FOR MURDER. I had fond memories of this book, and of an entire series that I adored. As I pulled AUDITION out of the box, I opened the cover. I didn't put it down until I was something like a hundred pages into it. Finished it the next day.
I like everything about AUDITION FOR MURDER. Carlson's characters are wonderful, real people with real emotions and real problems. They're joyful, passionate and committed — just take a look at how Nick O'Connor describes his work as an actor in chapter four, for example. And without flinching from tough realities — war, justice and the personal demons (the book is set in 1967) — they're also positive, upbeat and capable, ready to face anything, from a supercilious French restaurant waiter to the challenge of staging one of Shakespeare's greatest works, HAMLET. The HAMLET stuff in this book is great; you'll learn a lot about the play from Carlson — and you'll enjoy learning it.
Because these books were originally published as paperback originals, and because they were first published in the pre-internet dark ages, you won't find much about them online. But if you look back through mystery bookstore newsletters and mystery fanzines, you'll find folks raving about Carlson's books. Tom & Enid Schantz in The Rue Morgue newsletter: "terrific characters, funny incidents, genuine suspense, and an absolutely right sense of period and place." Kate's Mystery Books newsletter: "this is an inspiring book, a joy to read and, except for the murderer and murderee, it seems that just about everybody is set to live happily ever after, just as in the favorite fairy tales of my childhood." Phyllis Brown in the Grounds for Murder newsletter: "Carlson is one of those writers who demonstrate an amazing degree of wisdom and knowledge about human nature and an equal degree of compassion and sensitivity. The characters and their interactions alone would make this a deeply satisfying novel. In addition, the reader is treated to skillful, literate writing and an engrossing, suspenseful mystery story. This is one of my favorite mysteries of all time."
Pat's books are just too good to be out of print. It's a privilege and a pleasure to make them available again.
AUDITION FOR MURDER and MURDER IS ACADEMIC are out now. They're in print, and you can get them through bookstores everywhere (independent, chain, online, US, UK and EU). We're also doing digital editions, which you can find on Kindle, iTunes/iBooks and Smashwords (epub for Nook, Kobo, etc). MURDER IS PATHOLOGICAL will be out in December, and we'll have the rest of the series available in early 2013.
Find more info at www.crumcreekpress.com, where we've posted a note from the author about these reissues.