by Christopher Fowler
Publication Date: October 5, 2017
Genre: Books and Reading, Non-fiction
Publisher: River Run Books
"Absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you're dead."
So begins Christopher Fowler's foray into the back catalogues and backstories of 99 authors who, once hugely popular, have all but disappeared from our shelves.
Whether male or female, domestic or international, flash-in-the-pan or prolific, mega-seller or prize-winner - no author, it seems, can ever be fully immune from the fate of being forgotten. And Fowler, as well as remembering their careers, lifts the lid on their lives, and why they often stopped writing or disappeared from the public eye.
These 99 journeys are punctuated by 12 short essays about faded once-favourites: including the now-vanished novels Walt Disney brought to the screen, the contemporary rivals of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie who did not stand the test of time, and the women who introduced us to psychological suspense many decades before it conquered the world.
This is a book about books and their authors. It is for book lovers, and is written by one who could not be a more enthusiastic, enlightening and entertaining guide.
The 4th star I’m giving this book, a collection of 99 authors who have been ‘forgotten’, is a tip of the hat bump-up for witty dialog that made me chuckle throughout the book, and for giving me a handful of author names worth researching for future used bookstore treasures.
Otherwise, this is a collection of 99 authors who have been ‘forgotten’, along with a half-dozen or so essays that discuss additional forgotten authors, that is made a bit average through sheer volume. It’s both a book that doesn’t lend itself to reading through, nor dipping into here and there. It’s best read in chunks, I guess, but then one is apt to get to authors who write – or wrote – in areas of no interest to the reader, and suddenly there’s skimming and skipping.
There are a number of authors Fowler includes that I’ve not only heard of and/or read, but whose titles are actively sitting on my shelves: Allington, Wheatley, Orczy, Mitchell and Crispin, among others. This made me feel oddly better about myself in a way I probably shouldn’t admit to, but there it is; suddenly my wall of cozies seem a tiny bit elevated by sharing company with these names who have been deemed worth remembering.