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Anthony Boucher Books In Order

Publication Order of Fergus O'Breen Mysteries Books

The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars (1940)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Case of the Solid Key (1941)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Case of the Seven Sneezes (1942)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Compleat Werewolf and Other Stories of Fantasy and Science Fiction (1969)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Sister Ursula Books

Nine Times Nine (1940)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Rocket to the Morgue (1942)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Seven of Calvary (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Collections

Exeunt Murderers (1983)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Four & Twenty Bloodhounds (1985)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Compleat Boucher (1999)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Casebook of Gregory Hood (2009)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Anthony Boucher was an American author, critic, and editor. He wrote many classic mystery novels, short stories, and even radio dramas. Boucher also wrote under the pen name of H. H. Holmes which was taken from the late-19th-century serial killer. He was most commonly known by the Boucher name though and wrote in the mystery, science fiction, and horror genres.

Boucher was born as William Anthony Parker White on August 21st, 1911. He was born in Oakland, California and had a love of writing from a young age. He saw his first short story make it to print when he was only fifteen years old, with the story appearing in the January, 1927 issue of Weird Tales. The story was called “Ye Goode Olde Ghoste Storie” and it was the only story of his entire career that he wrote under his own name. Boucher eventually went on to attend the University of Southern California and the University of California, Berkeley. At Berkeley, he would receive his master’s degree.

After college, he would start his writing career and he decided to use a pseudonym when a friend told him that “William White” was too common a name and that he would need a pseudonym. Boucher decided that he would use “H. H. Holmes” to write and review mysteries and “Anthony Boucher” for science fiction. In addition to his writing, Boucher also worked as an editor, including science fiction anthologies, and wrote mystery reviews for many years in The New York Times.

Boucher had a long career in writing, but he was also a mentor to other writers including Philip K. Dick. His classic locked room mystery, Rocket to the Morgue, that features many thinly veiled versions of people who were writing science fiction at that time including Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard and Jack Parsons.

He was also a very busy guy in radio and plotted more than 100 episodes of The Adventures of Ellery Queen and also provided plots for the Sherlock Holmes radio dramas. He also created his own radio series, The Casebook of Gregory Hood. He worked really hard on this for a few years, but he decided to leave radio in 1948 to create The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The magazine took up a lot of his time during this era, but he still did a number of other projects as well. He taught an informal writing class from his home, wrote a Sunday mystery column for the New York Times Book Review, edited True Crime Detective, hosted a series of opera recordings called Golden Voices, and even served as president of Mystery Writers of America. He did all that plus continued to write.

When not writing, Boucher was a political activist, played poker, and was a rabid sports fan. He also enjoyed cooking and was an active Sherlockian in The Baker Street Irregulars. Boucher lived a busy life before passing away due to lung cancer on April 29, 1968. He will be remembered for his own mystery writing and the reviews he wrote, but was perhaps best known in his time for his editing, particularly his science fiction anthologies.

Nine Times Nine is one of the most popular works of Boucher’s career. The story sees a man named Wolfe Harrigan, a famous author known for his debunking of cults. He meets up with the head of the Children of Light, cloaked in his yellow robe, who places an ancient curse on Wolfe. The curse is called the Nine Times Nine. The author is naturally doubtful of its legitimacy, but the next day his assistant sees something in the widow of window of Wolfe’s study that causes him to panic. What he sees is a man in a yellow robe. When Wolfe is then found dead in his study, the police are stumped as all the windows and doors were locked. Wolfe’s sister was sat outside of the study and says she never saw anyone come out. With the police unable to do anything, she turns to a family friend known as Sister Ursula who has a knack for divining the truth and stopping the killer before they are able to strike again.

The Case of the Crumpled Knave is the first book in Boucher’s series about Los Angeles private eye Fergus O’Breen. The story starts with Col. Theodore Rand receiving a strange telegram from his friend Humphrey Garnett that reads, “You may be invaluable witness at inquest on my body.” Rand is a retired man and well off so he decides too fly from New York to California to see his old friend and try to figure out what this message was all about. Instead, he finds his friend dead upon his arrival. The police are on the case and they arrest the wrong man. Garnett’s family friend, a rookie private investigator named Fergus O’Breen, decides to step in and take the case. He’s a bit unorthodox in his methods, but he’s keen to to take on his first murder case. He should’ve been careful what he wished for though as the deck is stacked against him, with a house full of suspects. O’Breen will need to work fast to find the killer before they find their next victim.

Boucher is also the author Rocket to the Morgue. This book tells of the greedy heir to the legendary science fiction author Fowler Faulkes. The author himself is dead, but his creation, Dr. Derringer, lives on in popular culture. Or it would if not for his greedy heir Hilary who is inflexible in his dealings with the estate. That changes when Hilary is found stabbed in a room with only one door. The suspect is a writer who wishes to use the character and the form of attack is straight out of a novel. There is a fear that that the assailant will return and Detective Terry Marshall and his assistant Sister Ursula agree. It seems wherever this Mr. Foulkes goes, death awaits him. The detectives take a deep dive into the strange, idiosyncratic world of science fiction in its early days to find the would-be murderer.

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