Friday, 4 June 2010

Forgotten Book - Julian Symons Remembered


My choice for today’s Forgotten Book is a labour of love conceived by John Walsdorf as a tribute to Julian Symons, the crime novelist and critic whom he admired so much. I wrote about Walsdorf’s epic bibliography of Symons’ work a while ago, and thanks to the wonders of the internet, I was contacted via Facebook by John Walsdorf’s son, who promptly put me in touch with his father – who has proved a very interesting correspondent. Making these connections wouldn’t have been possible (or at least, not without great difficulty) a few years ago

John and Kathleen Symons, Julian’s widow, gathered tributes from a wide range of notable writers who knew and admired Julian. Julian Symons Remembered contains some great stories – for instance, I liked Susan Moody’s piece, recording that he hated to be described as a ‘doyen’. The respect in which the man was held shines through the pages.

Reg Hill says: ‘I wish I’d read Playing Happy Families before Julian died so that I could have added my voice to the many telling him how marvellous it was.’ A verdict on a fine book with which I fully agree. Michael Gilbert’s essay concludes: ‘He was, quite simply, a great man. Poet, historian, novelist, critic and Father of the British crime story. When shall we see his like again?’

High praise, but well merited. This is a splendid book, sadly little known and very hard to find, but it does not deserve to be forgotten, just as Julian Symons should never be forgotten by those who love the genre.

6 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - Those are some fine authors, and of course, Symons was a wonderful writer. Another excellent choice for Friday's Forgotten Books.

Clarissa Draper said...

Wow, all these forgotten books.

I bought your latest book today and should receive it soon. Can't wait start it. It's called: The Serpent Pool.

CD

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am quite sure I read every mystery he wrote. And loved them all.

Richard Robinson said...

Pity it's so difficult to find, I'd like to read it.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for your comments.
Richard, good to hear from you, I do think that if you like Symons, this book is worth seeking out.
Clarissa, I shall keep my fingers crossed in hope that you like The Serpent Pool.

Evan Lewis said...

Sounds like a fine idea. I can think of other ex-authors who merit such tributes.