I hesitate to say this, because the general standard is always so high, but the latest issue of CADS, edited by Geoff Bradley, is possibly as good as the best of any of its 61 predecessors. It’s absolutely full of great things (I admit these include Angela Youngman’s very kind review of The Hanging Wood) and if you like traditional fiction, you really will enjoy this magazine.
One of the glories of CADS is the sheer unpredictability of the content. There are things here you simply won’t find anywhere else. Contributors aren’t afraid to buck trends. For instance, B.J. Rahn ( a distinguished academic and expert on crime fiction) writes a thoughtful but severely critical piece about the highly popular Camilla Lackberg. Meanwhile Philip Scowcroft not only praises The Five Red Herrings (I don’t share Philip’s enthusiasm, suffice to say) in one article but also contributes another with the memorable title “Visits to Doncaster by Crime Authors” (in which I get a kind mention, and I must say how much I did enjoy my visit to Doncaster!)
Liz Gilbey, a wise and witty writer, contributes “the best of the blurbs” (e.g “A really thrilling thriller which deals cunningly with murder, death and hocus-pocus”, of a Ngaio Marsh title) and a fascinating article about Ian Mackintosh, of whom I’d never heard. Curtis Evans, that splendid researcher, has a nice article about T.S. Eliot as a crime critic, pointing out that Eliot was a pioneer in terms of setting out "rules of the game", while Mike Ripley covers C.S. Forester. My very first contribution to CADS, many years ago, was about Forester, but that was before the rediscovery of that marvellous book The Pursued. I was interested to see that Ripley’s views and mine on Forester’s excellence are pretty much identical.
There are countless other gems, including a short article by Arthur Robinson on Anthony Berkeley’s stage plays, and one by John Cooper on Michael Gilbert’s radio plays. Bruce Shaw casts fresh light on E.C. Bentley, while Bob Adey has unearthed rare articles by Henry Wade and others. Cooper’s article about Clifford Witting, a writer I’ve never read, made me want to read his books. Other expert contributors include Marv Lachman and Barry Pike. The TBR pile will mount! All in all, Geoff Bradley really has excelled himself. I can't wait for the next issue.