Peter Cheyney - Who Knew Him?

Ok, so Dave and I are sitting in The Snug at the most fine Twisted Hop last week and we gaze across at the bookshelf full of books. Now, in Hay-on-Wye (near to my old home of Monmouth in Wales) they have a thriving second-hand book trade where pubs can buy books by the weight to fill up their bookshelves and give it a "homely" feel.

I wondered to Dave if the same happened here.

I then grabbed the closest book.
It was by Peter Cheyney.

Heard of him? Nope, neither had we but we had the power of the web at our fingertips and a quick search brought up Wikipedia: Peter Cheyney.

By God! He was a multi-million selling author from the 1930's, 40's and 50's.
MULTI-MILLION! He was probably as well known then (a mere 60 years ago) as, say, Dan Brown is now. He was HUGE!
Reginald Evelyn Peter Southouse Cheyney, known as Peter Cheyney, (22 February 1896 — 26 June 1951) was a British crime fiction writer who flourished between 1936 and 1951. Cheyney is the author of hard-boiled short stories and novels, some of which were adapted to film; his character Lemmy Caution was famously appropriated by French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard for the science fiction movie Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution.

And we'd never heard of him.
But he has an official website:

We trawled through a few of the pages and quickly discovered why - his writing was contemporary and was writing for the audience of the day. It was all "The moment she walked in the door I knew this dame was trouble", slightly "gum-ball" and very "hard case" and made Dave and I laugh.

Of course it's easy to look back and giggle on those from the past but on reflection what it did bring up for me was a huge admiration for those that created work that is as relevant now as they was when the public first laid their eyes upon it.


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