Only two new purchases this week:
Oh Pure and Radiant Heart by Lydia Millet. A recommendation from Niall Harrison, looks bonkers and fits my whole "read more stuff in translation" ethos. (Abebooks)
Doctor Nikola by Guy Boothby. Doctor Nikola predates Fu Manchu, but there are more than a few similarities. Boothby's character is one of the great EVIL MASTERMINDS of fiction, the recurring villain in five different books. The copy I found is a battered first edition - I mean, properly battered. But the cover art is still there, showing the Doctor's piercing gaze and his (rather bored looking) black cat. It may become my new profile picture... (eBay)
On the "not-purchased" front, this week did involve a lot of digging about in archives. In the run up to The Book of the Dead, I've been doing some work with John Johnston of the Egypt Exploration Society. Although The Book of the Dead (out October!) is all original fiction, we wanted to showcase some of the lost classics of mummy fiction as well. Mr. Johnston has an amazing knowledge of the genre and I'm always happy to go scrounging for stories. We've found a few treasures, including a few stories that don't appear in the archives - which means I'll have a lot of typing to do... The results of this project will be called Unearthed, and will be an eBook, out this September.
I also fell down an archive.org rabbit hole reading the papers of the Reverend Dr Nevil Maskelyne. As one does. One letter to Maskelyne (the fifth Astronomer Royal), sent in July of 1781, was from a correspondent in America, Joseph Willard. Willard concludes his letter (containing observations of longitude, based on a recent solar eclipse) with this lovely note:
"I hope, Sir, no umbrage will be taken my writing to you on account of the political light in which America is now viewed by Great Britain. I think political disputes should not prevent communications in matters of mere science, nor can I see how any one can be injured by such an intercourse."
Two pulp authors tackled this week - Helen McInnes (good lord, those books are boring - I've never read so much about ham sandwiches and Swiss driving!) and Jonathan Craig (much better - his Selby and Rayder books are positioned halfway between pulp and procedural, I'm good with that).
Reviews not forthcoming, I'm afraid - this week also looks like it will be a repeat of last one: Hard Case Crime, KJ Parker and "rushing around like crazy to meet deadlines".