E.C.R. Lorac is a writer forgotten today by the general reading public, but enthused over by some fans of Golden Age detection, and avidly collected by a number of people. Her real name was Carol Rivett, and she also wrote as Carol Carnac. The quest for copies of her early books has meant that prices on the second hand market can be very high.
My parents were both keen on Lorac, and one story in particular, in which the curious features of Morecambe Bay played a vital part in the plot, was a favourite of theirs. I refer to it in one of the key scenes in The Serpent Pool, when Marc Amos is deliberating about his life with Hannah Scarlett.
I mentioned James M. Pickard’s catalogue of rare books the other day, and he features several highly obscure Lorac items. These include two unpublished novels. One is called Two-Way Murder, and was written under the name of Mary Le Bourne. The other, an unfinished novel, and possibly the one she was writing at the time she died, doesn’t have a title.
These are truly fascinating items which have a place in crime fiction history. The only snag is that their unique nature makes them very pricey, at £5,000 and £3,500 respectively. But I hope that whoever buys them could be persuaded to make the content of the stories more widely available to Lorac fans.