Friday, 12 August 2011

Enid Schantz


I'd intended to cover a forgotten book by Anthony Berkeley today, but I've heard the sad news of the death of Enid Schantz, and so I've decided instead to pay a small tribute to her.

Enid and her husband Tom were American book-dealers, whom I met several times over the years. Charming and considerate people, with a great passion for mysteries. They ran a store called Rue Morgue, although in recent years they focused on online selling.

They also set up an imprint, Rue Morgue Press, which I've mentioned before on this blog, and which specialised in forgotten books - by such unlikely names as Maureen Sarsfield, as well as the better known Pamela Branch. I bought one of their Branch titles recently, when I was last in Oxford.

They also revived the complete works of Dorothy Bowers, a splendid writer, and their research on Bowers' short life was fascinating. When I last met them, they recommended me to try Clyde Clason, a very interesting writer I'd never heard of before. And their research on H.C. Bailey led to my pilgrimage to his home in North Wales a few months back. I tried to persuade them to republish Henry Wade, but alas to no avail; they weren't Wade fans. But if you check the Rue Morgue catalogue, you'll find plenty of little known gems.

Enid was a lovely lady, and I shall miss her, but I'll remember her not just with affection, but with admiration. I only wish I had been able to spend more time in her company.

9 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - A fine tribute - thank you.

Elizabeth Foxwell said...

The Schantzes introduced me to the screwball mysteries of Constance and Gwenyth Little, including _The Great Black Kanba_ (featuring a barking lizard) and _The Black Stocking_ (featuring a headless nurse). Enormous fun.

George said...

I met Enid at a BOUCHERCON in Toronto. She was a delightful person and very knowledgeable about mystery books. You've written a wonderful tribute to a fine lady.

hannah dennison said...

This is a lovely tribute.

vegetableduck said...

Tom Schantz likes Henry Wade, apparently.

Anonymous said...

Very sad news. I discovered the Press relatively recently and was delighted to find old favourites like Glynn Carr (mountaineering mysteries solved by actor-manager Abercrombie 'Filthy' Lewker[!]) and unknowns like the delightful Joan Coggin and the Irish writer Eilis Dillon whose three detective stories are minor classics.
Fans of old-style mysteries owe a great debt to Enid and Tom.

J said...

Sad news. They certainly did a lot for our genre...

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for these comments.
Anon, you've made me want to read the Dillon books!

Nan said...

This is such sad news. I just read the tribute on the Rue Morgue site. Though I didn't know her, I have long admired the work of Rue Morgue Press, and bought many books over the years.