Category: Anthony Boucher

Anthony Boucher (1911 – 1968)

descarga (3)Anthony Boucher, pseudonym of William Anthony Parker White, also published under the pseudonym H.H. Holmes, (born Aug. 21, 1911, Oakland, Calif., U.S.—died April 29, 1968, Oakland), American author, editor, and critic in the mystery and science fiction genres who in 1949 cofounded The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, a major science fiction periodical. He was one of the premier critics of mystery; for his reviews he won three Edgar Allan Poe Awards (1946, 1950, and 1953) from the Mystery Writers of America.

Boucher wrote his first novel, the mystery The Case of the Seven of Cavalry, in 1937. He wrote seven more mysteries over the next five years. Three of those novels and several of Boucher’s short stories featured Fergus O’Breen, a private detective whose cases involved supernatural and science-fictional elements such as werewolves and time travel. Boucher’s Roman Catholicism surfaced in the character of Sister Ursula, a crime-solving nun who appeared in two novels that Boucher wrote under the pseudonym H.H. Holmes. Rocket to the Morgue (1942), a Sister Ursula novel, featured thinly veiled portraits of science fiction writers such as Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard.

Boucher sold his first science fiction story, “Snulbug,” to the magazine Unknown in 1941. His fictional literary output from then until 1955—when he concentrated his energies on editing and criticism—was almost exclusively science fiction. However, from 1945 to 1948 he wrote scripts for several nationally broadcast radio mystery series. Beginning in the 1940s and until the end of his life, he reviewed mysteries and science fiction for the The New York Times and other American newspapers.

In 1949 he and author J. Francis McComas founded The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (F&SF), which aimed to publish work at a higher literary level than had previously existed in the genre. F&SF encouraged a new generation of science fiction authors that included Philip K. Dick and Alfred Bester and published Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960; first serialized 1955–57), which describes the post-nuclear-holocaust efforts of a Catholic religious order to preserve knowledge. After McComas left F&SF in 1954, Boucher edited the magazine alone until 1958. From 1961 to 1968 he reviewed operas for Opera News. The annual world mystery convention, Bouchercon, first held in 1970, is named in his honour. (Source: Britannica)

Mystery novels: The Case of the Seven of Calvary (1937), The Case of the Crumpled Knave (1939), Nine Times Nine (1940) [only as by H. H. Holmes], The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars (1940, reprinted as Blood on Baker Street), The Case of the Solid Key (1941), Rocket to the Morgue (1942) [also as by H. H. Holmes], and The Case of the Seven Sneezes (1942), and a collections of short stories: Exeunt Murderers: The Best Mystery Stories of Anthony Boucher (1983) edited by Francis M. Nevins Jr and Martin H. Greenberg.

Further reading:

On Anthony Boucher 

Mike Grost on Anthony Boucher 

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(Facsimile Dust Jacket, Simon and Schuster Inner Sanctum Mystery (USA), 1937)

Anthony Boucher was a literary renaissance man: an Edgar Award–winning mystery reviewer, an esteemed editor of the Hugo Award–winning Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, a prolific scriptwriter of radio mystery programs, and an accomplished writer of mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and horror. With a particular fondness for the locked room mystery, Boucher created such iconic sleuths as Los Angeles PI Fergus O’Breen, amateur sleuth Sister Ursula, and alcoholic ex-cop Nick Noble.
On the quiet Berkeley campus, a visiting professor has been murdered. Someone stabbed Dr. Hugo Schaedel through the heart with an ice pick, and the only clue found on the scene is a strange symbol scrawled on a crumpled piece of paper.
Research fellow Martin Lamb is intrigued by the case and mentions it to his Sanskrit professor, John Ashwin. Together they hope to deduce who did the deed, but with no clear motive, it won’t be easy. They’ll need to quickly comb the campus for clues and hit the books—before the killer hits again . . . (Mysterious Press)

The Case of the Seven of Calvary has been reviewed, among others, at Noah’s Archive, Only Detect, Countdown John’s Christie Journal.

My Book Notes: The Case of the Crumpled Knave (1939) by Anthony Boucher

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

The Orion Publisihing Group, 2012. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 667 KB. Print Length: 144 pages. ASIN: B00934X6DM. ISBN: 978-1-4719-0318-2.

51z5XzTTnIL._SY346_Book Description: “Who’s Bluffing?” — A cryptic telegram … two ingenious and quite different sets of clues … and each of the half dozen suspects a bit of an imposter …. — It was a case that staggered the imagination of everyone involved. Until detective Fergus O’Breen began to sort out the facts. And discovered that what appeared to be fact was really fiction … and that the real truth lay behind a whimsical legend — and the body of another dead man. (Source: Goodreads)

My Take: This has been my first encounter with Anthony Boucher and it wont be the last. Boucher, except for his science fiction books, is little known in Spain. If my information is correct his only mystery book translated into Spanish was his first detective novel published as El Siete del Calvario in 1956 in Buenos Aires in El sèptimo círculo collection by Editorial Emecé, directed by Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares.

It is also Boucher’s second detective novel, the first featuring his private investigator Fergus O’Breen. O’Breen is hired by Kay Garnett to ascertain the innocence of her fiancé, a certain Richard Vinton, who is arrested as the main suspect of the murder of Humphrey Garnett, Kay’s father, a retired research chemist. Someone poured poison into Humphrey Garnett’s drink the night before and the only clue is a crumpled playing card the deceased hold in his hand. The card in fact is the Jack of Diamonds. Garnett’s house was locked from the inside, and, the possibility that someone could have entered the house, is soon ruled out. It’s almost certain it’s been an inside job. The Garnett household, besides Kay herself, her father and her fiancé, is comprised by Humphrey’s brother-in-law, Arthur Willowe; Humphrey’s laboratory assistant, Will Harding; and Humphrey’s protégée, Camilla Sallice.

Luckily, O’Breen can count with the cooperation of Theodore Rand, an old family friend and retired US army colonel, who just shows up in the house. His presence is a result of the telegram that Humphrey Garnett sent him a few days ago with the following text: “COME TO LOS ANGELES AT ONCE, STOP. FLY IF NECESSARY STOP. YOU MAY BE INVALUABLE WITNESS AT INQUEST ON MY BODY STOP. WATCH HECTOR –H,E,C,T,O,R– CAREFULLY”.

For my taste, the novel promises more than it finally delivers. Perhaps because at the end it becomes entangled in a manner, in my view, excessive, however startling. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed its reading. I specifically liked Colonel Rand’s character. It has also many good things. Particularly a nice sense of humour and a great deal of  imagination, with which the story manages to capture the reader’s attention. It is also worth mentioning that, at various moments during the narrative, the author breaks the fourth wall. Some of the blogs attached provide several examples in their reviews. I’m looking forward to reading Nine Times Nine in a not so distant future

My Rating: B ( I liked it)

The Case of the Crumpled Knave has been reviewed, among others, at crossexaminingcrime, The Locked Room: Classic Mysteries in Review, gadetection, Beneath the Stains of Time, The Grandest Game in the World,

About the Author: Anthony Boucher (1911 –1968) born William Anthony Parker White in Oakland, California, wrote both mystery and science fiction and was a highly regarded literary critic and editor. He also wrote scripts for radio, spoke numerous languages fluently, and was the first translator into English of Jorge Luis Borges. A founding member of the Mystery Writers of America, he was one of the first winners of an Edgar Award for his mystery reviews in the San Francisco Chronicle. He also wrote short stories for, among others, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Black Mask, and Ed McBain’s Mystery Book. His iconic status was cemented when, in 1970, Bouchercon (Anthony Boucher Memorial World Mystery Convention) was set up in his honour. His output in the mystery genre consists of seven detective novels: The Case of the Seven of Calvary (1937), The Case of the Crumpled Knave (1939), Nine Times Nine (1940) [only as by H. H.
Holmes], The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars (1940, reprinted as Blood on Baker Street), The Case of the Solid Key (1941), Rocket to the Morgue (1942) [also as by H. H. Holmes], and The Case of the Seven Sneezes (1942), and a collections of short stories: Exeunt Murderers: The Best Mystery Stories of Anthony Boucher (1983) edited by Francis M. Nevins Jr and Martin H. Greenberg.

On Anthony Boucher

Boucher, Anthony at Gadetection

The Case of the Crumpled Knave de Anthony Boucher

Descripción del libro: “¿Quién está fingiendo?” – Un telegrama enigmático … un par de indicios ingeniosos y bastante diferentes … y cada uno de la media docena de sospechosos un tanto impostores … – Fue un caso que asombró la imaginación de cada uno de los involucrados. Hasta que el detective Fergus O’Breen comenzó a sortear los hechos. Y descubrió que lo que parecía ser verdad era en realidad ficción … y que la auténtica verdad estaba detrás de una leyenda extravagante, y el cuerpo sin vida de otro hombre. (Fuente: Goodreads)

Mi opinión: Este ha sido mi primer encuentro con Anthony Boucher y no será el último. Boucher, a excepción de sus libros de ciencia ficción, es poco conocido en España. Si mi información es correcta, su único libro de misterio traducido al español fue su primera novela de detectives publicada como El Siete del Calvario en 1956 en Buenos Aires en la colección El sèptimo círculo de Editorial Emecé, dirigida por Jorge Luis Borges y Adolfo Bioy Casares.

También es la segunda novela de detectives de Boucher, la primera protagonizada por su investigador privado Fergus O’Breen. O’Breen es contratado por Kay Garnett para demostrar la inocencia de su prometido, un tal Richard Vinton, quien es arrestado como principal sospechoso del asesinato de Humphrey Garnett, el padre de Kay, un investigador químico retirado. Alguien vertió veneno en la bebida de Humphrey Garnett la noche anterior y la única pista es un naipe arrugado que el difunto tiene en la mano. La carta de hecho es la jota de diamantes. La casa de Garnett estaba cerrada por dentro y, pronto, se descarta la posibilidad de que alguien haya entrado en la casa. Es casi seguro que ha sido un trabajo interno. La familia Garnett, además de la propia Kay, su padre y su prometido, está compuesta por el cuñado de Humphrey, Arthur Willowe; El asistente de laboratorio de Humphrey, Will Harding; y la protegida de Humphrey, Camilla Sallice.

Afortunadamente, O’Breen puede contar con la colaboración de Theodore Rand, un viejo amigo de la familia y coronel retirado del ejército estadounidense, que acaba de aparecer en la casa. Su presencia es el resultado del telegrama que Humphrey Garnett le envió hace unos días con el siguiente texto: “VEN A LOS ÁNGELES DE INMEDIATO, STOP. VUELA SI ES NECESARIO STOP. PUEDES SER TESTIGO INDISPENSABLE EN LA INVESTIGACIÓN DE MI CADAVER STOP. VIGILA A HECTOR –H, E, C, T, O, R– CUIDADOSAMENTE”.

Para mi gusto, la novela promete más de lo que finalmente ofrece. Quizás porque al final se enreda de una manera, en mi opinión, excesiva, aunque sorprendente. No obstante, he disfrutado su lectura. Me gustó especificamente el personaje del coronel Rand. También tiene muchas cosas buenas. Particularmente un buen sentido del humor y mucha imaginación, con lo cual la historia logra captar la atención del lector. También vale la pena mencionar que, en varios momentos durante la narración, el autor rompe la cuarta pared. Algunos de los blogs adjuntos proporcionan varios ejemplos en sus reseñas. Tengo muchas ganas de leer Nine Times Nine en un futuro no muy lejano

Mi valoración: B (Me gustó)

Sobre el autor: Anthony Boucher (1911-1968), nacido William Anthony Parker White en Oakland, California, escribió tanto misterio como ciencia ficción y fue un crítico y editor literario de gran prestigio. También escribió guiones para la radio, hablaba numerosos idiomas con fluidez y fue el primer traductor al inglés de Jorge Luis Borges. Miembro fundador de Mystery Writers of America, fue uno de los primeros ganadores de un Premio Edgar por sus reseñas de novelas de misterio en el San Francisco Chronicle. También escribió cuentos para, entre otros, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Black Mask y Ed McBain’s Mystery Book. Su estatus de icono se consolidó cuando, en 1970, Bouchercon (Convención Mundial de Misterio en Homenaje a Anthony Boucher) se instituyó en su honor. Su producción en el género de misterio consiste en siete novelas de detectives: The Case of the Seven of Calvary (1937) [El Siete del Calvario, Col. El sèptimo círculo Editorial Emecé, Buenos Aires, 1956], The Case of the Crumpled Knave (1939), Nine Times Nine (1940) [como H. H. Holmes], The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars (1940, reimpreso como Blood on Baker Street), The Case of the Solid Key (1941), Rocket to the Morgue (1942) [también como H. H. Holmes], y The Case of the Seven Sneezes (1942), y una colección de relatos: Exeunt Murderers: The Best Mystery Stories of Anthony Boucher (1983) editado por Francis M. Nevins Jr y Martin H. Greenberg.