The Digest Enthusiast


Bill Crider’s Blog Bytes

EQMM August 2007 cover
EQMM August 2007 with Bill Crider’s first Blog Bytes column

The Jan/Feb 2018 issue of EQMM may have been the last issue to feature Bill Crider’s long running column: Blog Bytes. Here’s what he said about it in our interview for The Digest Enthusiast five:

“I’m not sure how ‘Blog Bytes’ came about, as I inherited the column from Ed Gorman, who called me and asked me to take over for him. I suspect that the column was the idea of the EQMM editor, Janet Hutchings, who wanted to start making some connections with the online world, but it could have been Ed’s idea. When I agreed to do the column (in 2007; hard to believe it’s been almost
10 years), Ed sent me some of his columns to look at. They were all between 400–415 words, so I’ve stuck to that with my own column.

“The only thing that worried me about doing the column was whether there would be enough new blogs and websites to keep it going. I needn’t have worried. Another thing that occurred to me a few years ago was that some blogs deserved a repeat mention because people might have missed the first one or might have forgotten about it. So I now lead with a repeat each time.”

EQMM cover image from Galactic Central.

Bestseller Mystery B91

Bestseller Mystery B91 coverAlthough not labeled officially with the “Ellery Queen Selects” banner, Bestseller Mystery B91 follows the series’ formula: a short story collection edited by Queen, with his introduction.

Bestseller Mystery B91, Oct. 14, 1947
 “The Department of Dead Ends” by Roy Vickers

“The Rubber Trumpet,” Pearson’s Magazine, Sept. 1934*
“The Case of the Merry Andrew,” Fiction Parade and Golden Book Magazine, July 1936 as “The Cowboy of Oxford Street”
“The Man Who Was Murdered By a Bed,” Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, March 1946
“Mean Man’s Murder,” Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Nov. 1945
“Snob’s Murder,” Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Aug. 1946
“The Case of the Honest Murderer,” Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, July 1946
“The Man Who Played the Market,” Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Oct.1946

* Listed on the copyright page as Fiction Parade, 1935, actually the first merged issue of Fiction Parade and Golden Book Magazine, Oct. 1935, reprinted from Pearson’s.

Opening Lines

Magazine of Horror #6 page 5Selected from a digest featured in The Digest Enthusiast book five:

“Some time has passed since I first told you about the Stranger Club up on West 53rd Street. I have spent part of it in the great lounge listening to stories of one sort or another, but they must wait, for, starting in this room last month, I have been led into as extraordinary an adventure as any I have been told and I must tell it as it befell. Perhaps the telling may help me to forget.
“Caverns of Horror” by Laurence Manning Magazine of Horror #6 November 1964


Magazine of Horror #6 cover

Bill Crider 1941–2018

Social media and the blogs of Bill Crider’s friends and fans celebrate the life of the gifted writer with tributes and recollections upon the news of his passing yesterday. Like many, I first met Bill through his wonderful blog Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine.

In 2015, I was fortunate enough to meet him in person at Bouchercon in Raleigh, where he signed a copy of his—at the time—current novel Between the Living and the Dead. A year later, he graciously agreed to be interviewed via email and responded to general questions about his career, and highlighted some of his short stories and articles for magazines and zines like The Not So Private Eye, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, New Mystery, Hardboiled, and Ellery Queen.

The Spider Chronicles cover

When asked about his terrific story, “The Marching Madmen,” starring The Spider, he shared the inside information:

“I was invited to write a story for The Spider Chronicles, and the invitation came at a time when I’d been reading a lot of Novell Page Spider novels. I’m easily influenced by the writing style of other authors, so it seemed as if it would be easy to sit down and write a story like the ones I’d been enjoying. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, so I’m glad you think it turned out well. Writing the story kind of burned me out on The Spider, and I haven’t read any other Page novels since then.”

Rest in peace, Bill Crider, your stories and kindness, that touched so many lives, lives on.

Opening Lines

Selected from a digest featured in The Digest Enthusiast book five:

Jonathan Press cover
Jonathan Press Mystery J29 January 1947

“The Montgomery Hotel’s regular detective had taken his last week’s rake-off from the hotel bootlegger in merchandise instead of cash, had drunk it down, had fallen asleep in the lobby, and had been fired. I happened to be the only idle operative in the Continental Detective Agency’s San Francisco branch at the time, and thus it came about that I had three days of hotel-coppering while a man was being found to take the job permanently.”
“House Dick” by Dashiell Hammett Jonathan Press Mystery J29 January 1947

Mercury Mystery 112

Although not labeled officially with the “Ellery Queen Selects” banner, Mercury Mystery #112 met all the series’ criteria: a short story collection edited by Queen, with his introduction.

Mercury Mystery 112 cover
Mercury Mystery 112, June 10, 1947

Mercury Mystery 112, June 10, 1947

“The Case Book of Mr. Campion” by Margery Allingham
“The Crimson Letters,” The Strand Magazine, Aug. 1938 as “The Case of the Longer View”
“Safe as Houses,” The Strand Magazine, Jan. 1940
“The Case of the Question Mark,” The Strand Magazine, Jan. 1938 as “The Question Mark”
“The Definite Article,” The Strand Magazine, Oct. 1937
“The Magic Hat,” The Strand Magazine, Oct. 1938 as “The Case of the Hat Trick”
“The Meaning of the Act,” The Strand Magazine, Sept. 1939
“A Matter of Form,” The Strand Magazine, May 1940

Ellery Queen March/April 2014

An excerpt from the interview with Bill Crider, from The Digest Enthusiast book five:

Bill Crider: “At an Armadillocon some years ago, I was on the “Apes” panel, along with Joe Lansdale, Rick Klaw, Mark Finn, Chris Nakashima Brown, and probably some others I’m forgetting. The talk turned to a legendary pulp cover for a story called “Gorilla of the Gas Bags” in a pulp called Zeppelin Stories. As anyone knows, there are only a couple of copies of the magazine still around, so nobody had read the story. Joe Lansdale challenged the panelists to write a story based on the cover. He sold his, and I sold mine. I don’t know if anyone else wrote a story.”

Ellery Queen April/March 2014 cover
Ellery Queen March/April 2014 with Bill Crider’s “Gorilla of the Gasbags” with Hollywood detective Bill Ferrell

Attn. Writers: Sandra Seamans reminds us Switchblade magazine is open for submissions.

Opening Lines

Selected from a digest featured in The Digest Enthusiast book five:

“A most singular case.” mumbled Dr. Pertinnet, walking a dignified hopskotch among the checkered tiles of the sanitarium waiting room. “Can’t be unique, of course—nothing’s ever unique: must have been someone like Hallock in medical history. Just never recorded.”
“Hallock’s Madness” by William Tenn Marvel Science Stories May 1951

Marvel Science Stories May 1951 cover