Friday, December 10, 2010
FFB: Robert Arthur, editor: ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS: STORIES NOT FOR THE NERVOUS; noted: Marcia Muller: TROPHIES AND DEAD THINGS
from the Contento index:
Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories Not for the Nervous [ghost edited by Robert Arthur] ed. Alfred Hitchcock (Random House LCC# 65-21262, 1965, $5.95, 363pp, hc); Derivative Anthologies: Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories Not for the Nervous (Dell 1966) and Alfred Hitchcock Presents: More Stories Not for the Nervous.
ix · A Brief Message from Our Sponsor · Alfred Hitchcock · in
3 · To the Future · Ray Bradbury · ss Colliers May 13 ’50
18 · River of Riches · Gerald Kersh · ss The Saturday Evening Post Mar 8 ’58
31 · Levitation · Joseph Payne Brennan · ss Nine Horrors and a Dream, Arkham, 1958
36 · Miss Winters and the Wind · Christine N. Govan · ss Tomorrow May ’46
42 · View from the Terrace · Mike Marmer · ss Cosmopolitan Dec ’60
53 · The Man with Copper Fingers [“The Abominable History of the Man with Copper Fingers”; Lord Peter Wimsey] · Dorothy L. Sayers · ss Lord Peter Views the Body, London: Gollancz, 1928
72 · The Twenty Friends of William Shaw · Raymond E. Banks · ss Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine Mar ’60
81 · The Other Hangman · Carter Dickson · ss A Century of Detective Stories, ed. Anon., London: Hutchinson, 1935
95 · Don’t Look Behind You · Fredric Brown · ss EQMM May ’47
107 · No Bath for the Browns · Margot Bennett · ss Lilliput Nov ’45
111 · The Uninvited [“A Prince of Abyssinia”; Daniel John Calder; Samuel Behrens] · Michael Gilbert · ss Argosy (UK) Mar ’62
122 · Dune Roller · Julian May · nv Astounding Dec ’51
163 · Something Short of Murder [as by O. H. Leslie] · Henry Slesar · ss AHMM Nov ’57
177 · The Golden Girl · Ellis Peters · ss This Week Aug 16 ’64
182 · The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes · Margaret St. Clair · ss Maclean’s, 1950
192 · Walking Alone · Miriam Allen deFord · ss EQMM Oct ’57
206 · For All the Rude People · Jack Ritchie · ss AHMM Jun ’61
220 · The Dog Died First · Bruno Fischer · nv Mystery Book Magazine Fll ’49
242 · Room with a View · Hal Dresner · ss AHMM Jul ’62
252 · Lemmings · Richard Matheson · vi F&SF Jan ’58
255 · White Goddess · Idris Seabright · ss F&SF Jul ’56
261 · The Substance of Martyrs · William Sambrot · ss Rogue Dec ’63
269 · Call for Help · Robert Arthur · ss Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine Apr ’64
285 · Sorry, Wrong Number · Lucille Fletcher & Allan Ullman · n. New York: Random House, 1948
So, I indulged in a bit of nostalgia, and picked up a used copy of this in a Doubleday Book Club edition (whether from the DBC, the Literary Guild, the Mystery Guild, or even the SF Book Club, I know not). And, as the table of contents above might suggest to you, this book is about as rewarding a read now as it was as part of my continuing discovery of the "Hitchcock" books as a child in the 1970s, when the hardcovers were widely available in libraries and the Dell paperbacks, usually halving the contents into two volumes, were often put back into print if they slipped out of availability. Though my previous edition, deep in storage, was a used copy of the Dell paperbacks.
Robert Arthur was a deft and ingenious writer in nearly every medium available to him...screenwriting and radio drama as well as prose...one of his most prominent editorial gigs before taking on the AHP project in 1955 was the magazine The Mysterious Traveller, named for his radio drama anthology series. Hence, quite likely, the presence of a Mike Marmer story here, as Marmer was a very busy television writer into the 1980s, albeit one whose work on the Smothers Bros. series and Get Smart! probably was more rewarding than his late work on Punky Brewster. But, more importantly, memorable fiction ranging over the fields of suspense, mystery, horror, fantasy and sf were taken from classic and relatively contemporary sources. The sheer number of important writers these anthologies introduced me to, with eminently entertaining stories, was simply joyous...even when I'd come across a few of the stories before, such as Brennan's "Levitation," which remains perhaps his best story I've read. Arthur, as would his successor Harold Q. Masur though perhaps not quite to the same extent, loved particularly to tap the work of writers nearly as diverse in their output as he; Margaret St. Clair is represented by two stories, one for each of her common bylines; Fredric Brown, Miriam Allen deFord, Henry Slesar, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Gerald Kersh, and the relatively slick William Sambrot were all protean talents, as well. Lucille Fletcher's novella famously began life as a radio play. And Arthur's eye was sharp...Julian May is represented by her most famous story, even after some well-received novels later on, and the Jack Ritchie is one of his, if not the, best-renenbered. Arthur was particualrly keen on placing a Kersh story in his volumes, so I was aware of this superior talent, even as he was already fading from public consciousness in the '60s...Harlan Ellison's slightly later collection of his work was an attempt to bring Kersh greater attention. And Sayers, Peters and John Dickson Carr (as Carter Dickson) should dissuade no one from looking up this book...any more than Fischer, Gilbert or Benett should...
Little engaged me more than a new (to me) AHP volume in my youth...and they hold up well.
Also bright in my memory, but not yet dug out for review, is the first McCone novel by Marcia Muller I read, Trophies and Dead Things, which I had reason to mention on Patti Abbott's blog yesterday and which is getting to be twenty years old...and sadly, like too many Mysterious Press items, out of print. It was triggered, as a novel and as a rumination about life and society, by the near-simultaneous deaths of Huey Newton and Abby Hoffman, and the signficace of both their lives and deaths. It was, and I suspect is, a superb read, and I hope to rediscover that and perhaps report back here sooner rather than later.
For more of today's "Forgotten" Books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.