Somewhere on my shelves stands a treasured 1936 first edition of a publication called Murder Off Miami. With the cover strapline ‘Dennis Wheatley presents a new era in crime fiction – a murder mystery planned by J G Links’, this so-called ‘crime dossier’ invited readers to solve the murder of British financier Bolitho Blane through the hands-on experience of examining facsimiles of police reports, photographs and various pieces of evidence including yacht blueprints, cigarette stubs and human hair.
This was hardly literature, but then little from the pen of Dennis Wheatley ever was. However, it did demonstrate an enterprising attempt to revitalise a popular genre (the thriller) and it came with a typically entertaining back story. Publishers and, particularly, booksellers initially gave the idea the thumbs