Friday, January 08, 2016

Following in Gumshoe’s Path

Whoever you are and wherever you live, if you write or edit a blog about crime, mystery, or thriller fiction—or even if you merely read such blogs occasionally—I suggest that you take a moment to thank The Gumshoe Site and its editor, Jiro Kimura, for their trailblazing efforts. It was 20 years ago today, on January 8, 1996, that Kimura, a Japanese crime-fiction critic and author, launched The Gumshoe Site, one of the earliest Web resources devoted exclusively to this genre.

“I thought it would be fun to write about mystery books and writers I like in English,” Kimura told me in 2011 when I interviewed him in association with his blog’s 15th anniversary. “I didn’t think about what the future would bring. It has been said that launching a Web site is not difficult, but keeping it up-to-date is, and I have realized in a hard way that it is right.”

The Gumshoe Site has outlasted many other similar resources, including The Mysterious Homepage, Kate Derie’s ClueLass, and The Mystery Reader. Over the last five years alone, a variety of promising rival blogs have appeared, only to vanish as their writer-editors realize the high level of commitment (or sheer insanity) necessary to maintain and grow a site that’s both entertaining and informative. Yet Kimura, now 66 years old, just keeps rolling out news about book prizes and author demises, without obvious signs of slowing down.

With The Rap Sheet’s 10th anniversary coming up only months from now, I can only admire Kimura’s two-decades-long commitment to building The Gumshoe Site. All bloggers in this field owe him a debt of gratitude for his pioneering work.

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