To the editor:
It was delightful to read the review of the McSweeney’s reprint of Harry Stephen Keeler’s novel The Riddle of the Traveling Skull [January 6], and it was doubly delightful to see it reviewed by as perceptive and appreciative a gentleman as John Marr. I share Marr’s hope that Keeler’s “time may have finally come.”
However, it galls me to read a statement like this one: “It’s the first Keeler to see print in more than 50 years.” With no doubt, this reprint is major news, both for Keeler fanatics and for mystery enthusiasts alike, but Marr’s blithe claim slights the successful efforts of the invaluable Ramble House (www.ramblehouse.com), a private publishing house in Louisiana devoted to the reprinting of the totality of Keeler’s works. To date, they have made available to Keeler’s small but growing group of devoted readers dozens of his novels, including several that were never published during his lifetime, and a collection of Keeler’s nonfiction. They’ve also brought back forgotten works by such authors as Philip Jose Farmer, Anthony Boucher, N.R. de Mexico, and even Ernest Vincent Wright’s 1939 novel Gadsby, a book written absent the letter e.
John Marr replies:
The admirable Ramble House is a small print-on-demand enterprise that has made the more than 90 volumes in the Keeler canon available by special order (I own dozens). But the McSweeney’s edition of The Riddle of the Traveling Skull is the first Keeler to make it to bookstore shelves since the 1950s.