From the age of nine I lived across the road from a public library. As I grew up, it was where I spent most of my free hours devouring everything and anything I could. Indeed by the age of thirteen I had pretty much depleted the entire children’s section. Thankfully, the local council had a rule that once I reached that age I could access the adult section of the library (and indeed any others in their control), provided a written parental consent had been submitted in person by the parent. My Mom understood my voracious appetite for books and as such was more than happy to do so.
That was when I discovered for the first time the age old delights of Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and many more. I didn’t find them by chance, and neither did I find them by reputation. I found them by a love of crime fiction. A love I first felt blossom from a series of, now sadly out of print, books. Books which I have seen go for four figures on certain auction sites that will remain nameless.
The man who truly fuelled my love of the genre was Nils-Olof Franzen, with his series of Agaton Sax books, whose English editions were illustrated by the fabulous Quentin Blake. Of the 11 books in the Agaton Sax series, Franzen had 10 translated into English between 1965 & 1971, including amongst them, Agaton Sax and the League of Silent Exploders and Agaton Sax and the London Computer Plot. The series was also featured several times on the BBC series Jackanory, and Agaton Sax and the Max Brothers became a four part animated series in 1972.
I mention this now, because today I got this, and although it’s been almost 30+ years since last read one of these stories, I have loved every minute of reading it. It was as delightful piece of escapism today as it was way back then. It’s still a great introduction to the crime genre and I’m sure the reason I have as much love for cosy crime fiction, as I do for the hard core thrillers, and well executed police procedurals, because it has a flair for it all.
Agaton Sax and the Scotland Yard Mystery
In which AGATON SAX, Editor-in-Chief of the Bykoping Post and detective extraordinary, directs his amazing intelligence (and his editorial telescope) to the problem of who has stolen Scotland Yard’s Secret Code Register of Current Criminals … the infamous crew of the bad ship Esmeralda lose their soup … and the mysterious “Boss” gets a nasty shock to his system.
Now, own up, who did it for you?