Re: RARA-AVIS: John Holbrook Vance

Mark Blumenthal (
Tue, 28 Dec 1999 13:42:59 -0600

> I have read The Pleasant Grove Murders. I liked it very much but I
> would not consider it hard boiled.

No, I wdon't think anything he wroe would be called hard boiled. In science fiction and fantasy, where he is a major author under the name Jack Vance his appeal is mostly because of his ornate style of writing, his wit and his characters and settings. I've seen dictionaries of words he created.

I realize this is OT, but he is a perfect example of a writer who does not extend a series too long. He seems to tire of the characters after two or three books. The real exception is the series I mentioned earlier, the Demon Princes. He wrote the first three of what was clearly meant to be a five volume series in three years. After twelve years he produced the last two supposedly because of great public demand and probably entreaties by his publishers.

> I've been looking for Vance's other crime book, The Fox
> Valley Murders (forgive me it that is not the correct title). The only
> I saw was a good hardcover with dustjacket for over $200.

He wrote other mysteries. I have The Deadly Isles under the John Holbrook Vance name. He also wrote Isle of Peril as Alan Wade and Take my Face as Peter Held. There may be other pseudonyms. Even his mysteries in pb are rare and expensive. Mark

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