Friday, July 17, 2015

Forgotten Books: THE DEAD DON'T MATTER (1960)

There are some wonderful old crime, mystery, and thriller tales that have fallen by the wayside over the years, no longer remaining in print, but available here and there through secondhand dealers, online and bricks-and-mortar stores.

I love browsing secondhand stores, coming across authors and tales I hadn't heard of - and how great were some of those old covers from the post-war era? Much more evocative than a lot of what's out there nowadays.

Here's a recent find: THE DEAD DON'T MATTER (John Long, 1960) by Spenser Smith - an author who in a way followed in the footsteps of Fergus Hume (creator of the bestselling crime novel of the 1800s) - being born in England, moving to New Zealand, and then later shifting across the Tasman to Australia, where he set his debut mystery novel.

Smith also served in the Australian military in the Second World War, being stationed in the Middle East and in northern Australia, before becoming an author later in life. THE DEAD DON'T MATTER was published in 1960, and copies of the original edition are still available online, as well as a Mystery Guild edition.

Here's a review of the original release, from The Spectator archive (p30 of 5 February 1960 edition):
"Four tough and rather over- described Sydney layabouts get together to tunnel into a bank and half a million quid. Quite exciting to watch whether they'll get the money and which of them will kill whom first as they fall out over it. Not very stylish but pretty well plotted."
Sounds like a precursor to the 'crims turning on each other' stories I saw onscreen growing up, like Fargo and A Simple Plan.  I'm curious to learn more about this book and author, so please share in the comments if you've read this book, or know anything more about Spenser Smith the writer.

No comments:

Post a Comment