These are stories that have remained in my memory for many decades. I remember picking up the hand-written copies of The Noose Is Waiting And Other Stories (after which this new book is titled and from which the stories The Noose In Waiting and Dearest Heart come), and The Hidden City Of Ffan Su when I was younger, after finding them tucked away on a bookshelf. Both were dated 1949, and that in itself fascinated me. These were stories written by my Dad when he was 19 years old, just four years after the Second World War had ended! When I came to re-read them recently, not only did I still think the basic stories were good, but I enjoyed the unconscious bits of history and use of language in them.
Blackmail For Breakfast was a story I discovered on the same shelf and at the same time as the books above. This one, however, was typed and, therefore, a lot easier to read! It was dated 1954 and seemed to be an English take on the hard boiled American Private Eye films of the 40’s and 50’s. It became my favourite of my Dad’s old stories. Written when he would have been 24 years old, it demonstrated that his writing had moved on in those five years separating the books. Blackmail For Breakfast was a stronger story, better written and easily conjured images of square jawed heroes in trilby hats punching it out with the bad guys.
Slipped into the back of Blackmail For Breakfast I found another typed story, The Night Of Screaming Terror. It was shorter than any of the others, written a year later than Blackmail For Breakfast in 1955 and had, in my mind, two distinctive features. First, it was far and away the best written of the stories. And second, it was my Dad’s one and only foray into the world of horror! And back then, as now, horror was one of my favourite genres (alongside Science Fiction). I loved this story.
In 2000, at 70 years old, my Dad suddenly decided to write another story, the first, I believe, since The Night Of Screaming Terror in 1955. It was a story about the Second World War, private detectives, spies, stolen plans and Hitler’s planned invasion of Britain. It was also the longest thing he had ever written, short novel length.
In 2013 I managed to persuade him to let me release that book, The Ring Of Treachery, as an ebook and paperback through Amazon.
Also in 2013 I decided to have a go at editing, revising and rewriting those old stories I had enjoyed all those years ago. I wanted to keep the original story and as much of the original writing as I could. Above all, it was very important to me that I retained the style of the story, regardless of who had written the actual words. This book is the result of that work.
I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed working on them.
10 August 2013