I’ve written a couple of times about efforts by Northern California artist, photographer, and author Derek Pell to create a pictorial collection of 100 “missing mysteries,” puckish fronts for whodunit and thriller novels that never actually existed. He started out by periodically dropping new covers in that line onto a page of his online magazine, Zoom Street. More recently, however, the “missing mysteries” seemed to go missing themselves; last week, I could no longer find a link to that once-growing set from Pell’s site. So I shot him an e-note, asking what had become of those book covers.
Well, it seems that Pell had hoped to create a full, printable book of “missing
mysteries”--with plot descriptions of each imagined work--but when he couldn’t
find a publisher (“Rizzoli nearly did it,” he says, “but backed out.”), Pell
let the project slide, concentrating his energy instead on another venture, Black Scat Books. Fortunately, my
query about the “missing mysteries” provoked Pell to post his whole (189-page)
unpublished book online as a PDF document.
Click here for a free download.
Where else, I ask, can you find such long-forgotten masterpieces of mystery
fiction as Malice in Wonderland (“a hare-raising tale”), Dashiell
Hammett’s obscure Sam Spade novel, Murder Is a Four-Letter Word, Raymond
Chandler’s Call Me Shallow, But Bury Me Deep, and Odor in the Court
(“a scratch ’n’ sniff mystery”)?