I recently ordered S. T. Joshi's The Assaults of Chaos: A Novel about H. P. Lovecraft from Hippocampus Press. Naturally, since I'm an admirer of Lovecraft's fiction, I'm well aware of Joshi's eminence as the world's leading Lovecraft scholar. Consequently, I thought it might be fun to read Joshi's fictional portrayal of Lovecraft. The hardback edition was only twenty-five dollars. That's not much to spend on what could prove to be nothing more than a curiosity. We'll see.
Much to my surprise, however, my order included a little bonus, a Depression-era mystery story by Joshi entitled "Suicide in Brooklyn" that features a detective named Joe Scintilla. Apparently, Scintilla, who is said to have a degree in philosophy, has appeared in several books by Mr. Joshi. They're currently available from Wildside Press. I'm not a mystery reader, but I enjoyed "Suicide in Brooklyn" quite a bit. Mr. Joshi sets up a mystery the apparent suicide of a young man from a wealthy family and puts Scintilla on the case. I'm not giving anything away by saying that our hero comes up with a clever solution of the crime. I noticed that Joshi even cribs a bit from Lovecraft's biography: Scintilla's chief suspect, Frank Donelson, is said to have worked as a lamp-tester, just like HPL during his ill-fated sojourn in NYC in 1924-1926.
As I said, I enjoyed the story. So now I'll have to track down the Scintilla books and read them.
I've no idea whether or not "Suicide in Brooklyn" will ever be for sale on its own. Right now it seems to be available only to online purchasers of The Assaults of Chaos, or maybe it was available only to those who pre-ordered the book as I did. As a physical book, "Suicide in Brooklyn" is typical of Hippocampus Press paperbacks, i.e., sturdy and attractively designed.
Here are pictures of the front and back covers:
And here's a photo of the title page:
I'm looking forward to reading more of Joe Scintilla's adventures.
And I'll have something to say about The Assaults of Chaos after I've read it. It's on my soon-to-read-and-blog list.
Update - October 8, 2013: I've uploaded a post about The Removal Company, the first book-length Joe Scintilla adventure.
Update - January 16, 2014: I've uploaded a post about Conspiracy of Silence and Tragedy at Sarsfield Manor, the two latest Joe Scintilla adventures.