Michael Z. Lewin Newsletter Number 5
January 1, 1970Greetings to you discriminating readers. I’m back from my American wanderings and finally together enough to give you details of the imminent publication of EYE OPENER.
Yes, the 8th Albert Samson novel and first in thirteen years will be published on December 17th by Five Star. The ISBN number – if you’re rushing your orders in for holiday reading – is 1-59414-258-0. It’s a hardback and a bargain Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s and Easter present at $25.95. The Five Star site takes orders and is www.gale.com/fivestar. You have to go through “First Edition Mysteries” and then look for “Eye Opener”. I’ll be putting a more direct link on my website soon along with a picture of the cover. The book will also be published by Hayakawa in Japan, but I don’t know when.
Is this a time for an Albert Samson refresher course? He is the Indianapolis private eye narrator of my first-ever mystery, published back in the dark days of 1971. Albert was an unusual private eye from his very beginning. Partly this was because he lived and worked in Indianapolis – not New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. The idea of an American regional detective was novel in a novel in those days. His disinterest in guns and fighting with people continues to be unusual, even if the intervening decades have seen detectives set up shop on most American street corners.
Albert was greeted with enthusiasm – including nomination for a first novel Edgar. Reviewers looked forward to more Samson books and the following Samson novels were also reviewed generously. Is it immodest to quote a few?
CALLED BY A PANTHER (’91, winner of a “Marlowe” in Germany)
“…so amusing, the wonder is that it also works so well as a thriller… Fast, funny and brilliant.” Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal
OUT OF SEASON (’84)
“…[Ross] Macdonald followers who want to switch will find Lewin devises more intricate plots and peoples them with more interesting characters… They’re going to enjoy Lewin’s way of giving even the most minor of characters vivid and unstereotyped personalities.” Tony Hillerman, Washington Post Book World
MISSING WOMAN (’81)
“Sharp style, crisp dialogue, believable characters.”
New York Times Book Review Critic’s Choice for 1981
THE SILENT SALESMAN (’78)
“…packed with [suspense] and it is also literate and funny. A swell book to sink back into the pillows with…” Margaret Manning, The Boston Globe
THE ENEMIES WITHIN (’74)
“Compassionate and ironic…”
Lenore Glen Offord, The San Francisco Chronicle
THE WAY WE DIE NOW (’73)
“Lewin writes with style and sensibility and wit. He has a fine poetic sense of detail that lights up every page. He can frighten the reader too.” Ross Macdonald
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTION (’71)
“Little violence, little sex, little boozing, but the story still fascinates throughout, and frequently amuses as well. For a first novel by a young author very assured and satisfying, indeed.” Edmund Crispin, The Sunday Times (London)
It would be nice to think that reviewers – and readers – will be as generous about EYE OPENER.
OUT AND ABOUT
My October jaunts in the Midwest were good. A small but enthusiastic audience in Columbus Ohio received my “Murder You Write” program well – and was treated to a visit by Peter Lovesey and his wife, Jax, who made the show part of a US vacation. The Indianapolis version of the same show benefited from students from a local high school who were being given class credit for attending. Their energy and invention made me wonder about seeking to do the program in some schools next time around.
Peter also attended the Magna cum Murder conference in Muncie where we presented a panel – of sorts – together: “Bathtime with Mike and Pete.” I’m told there are already some pictures knocking around on the net of us in our matching bathrobes. Well, you’d want us to make a special effort for a 9 a.m. panel on a Sunday morning, wouldn’t you?
We also did a rather more focussed session for the Indianapolis Writers’ Center on “How to Write a Mystery Novel” the day before.
IN AND A DIN
And now I’m back and am returning to work on a new novel about my family of private detectives in Bath, the Lunghis. When I began the book it was warm and sunny outside my window. Good weather for detecting. But now it’s gray and miserable. However the book is set in June, beginning with a big street party that happens each year on the street that my patio overlooks. The main music stage is directly below me – hence the din. And I really enjoy the day, even if Mama Lunghi doesn’t. But it is June no more and I’ll just have to close my eyes and conjure the memory of that sunshine and warmth.
I’ll be back with another newsletter in the new year. Meanwhile, enjoy the forthcoming holidays – whichever you celebrate. Or make up some of your own…
Michael Z. Lewin
November 10, 2004