In this Issue…
AT my local Barnes & Noble there is a mural on the café wall with the likenesses of many of the literary legends we all grew up reading. This mural, which is not unique
to our local store, has always had the same effect on me, no matter my age. I still get the same thrill looking at it now as an adult as I did when I first set eyes on it as
kid. There, seated at small tables with drinks in front of them, sit Twain, Joyce, Faulkner, Shelley, Shaw, Eliot, Dickinson, Melville, Orwell, and, along with a host of others, Fitzgerald leaning forward talking to a lady. The balance of the mural on one side—with the authors seemingly in movement, engaged in the everyday task of sitting around drinking—and the books themselves on the other has always struck me with a sense of continuity between their lives and works and the present day.
It’s that linking of the past with the present that makes finding and publishing previously unpublished works by literary greats one of the more thrilling aspects of my job as an editor. Releasing these stories alongside the works of modern day authors conveys that same sense of continuity, primarily because these works—even though they did not see publication in their day—are still great stories that have stood the test of time. This issue of The Strand includes a previously unpublished story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. His name alone conjures images of the Jazz Age, flappers, extravagant parties, and post-World War I prosperity and excess in the United States. Written in 1939 (The manuscript is actually dated 7/7/39), the story is appropriately titled “Temperature,” and bears Fitzgerald’s trademarks: eccentric characters, swift dialogue, lyrical prose, and good doses of madcap comedy and lighthearted romance. I’d like to thank the F. Scott Fitzgerald estate for helping to make this project a reality, and I’d like to express my warm gratitude to Phyllis Westberg of Harold Ober Associates Inc., who was instrumental in moving the process forward and is one of the most wonderful agents I’ve worked with. I’d like to express my appreciation as well to Don C. Skemer and AnnaLee Pauls of the Rare Books and Special Collections Department at Princeton University Library. Many thanks also to The Strand’s own Christian Lewis who was kind enough to act as our liaison in securing copies of the manuscript.
Turning to more contemporary works, we are pleased to also publish in this issue a short story by best-selling author T. Jefferson Parker, who offers fair warning for tour guides in “Amazonia.” Meanwhile, the talented Ian Rankin of Inspector Rebus-fame leads us through the twists and turns—figurative and literal—outside an English airport in “Meet & Greet.” And Charles Todd keeps World War I betrayal alive and well in “The Heroism of Lieutenant Wills.” No issue of The Strand would be complete without Holmes and Watson, and here author Larry Millet does not disappoint in “The Opera Thief,” an opera seria of Midwestern detection complete with an aria to Sherlock’s own swan song.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the incomparable Lisa Gardner. Despite her dark and suspenseful tales of kidnapping, serial killings, and other dastardly deeds, Lisa is, in fact, one of the funniest, most light-hearted authors I’ve ever interviewed. She shared her knowledge of the writing craft, and explained a bit about her research methods and the inspiration behind her complex plots. Before flipping to our reviews section for the latest book and audiobook hits (and misses), please take a moment to explore this year’s nominees for the Strand Critics Award. All are “winners” in our book and will be honored in July at the annual award party in New York City.
I hope you enjoy the magazine and have a wonderful summer.
Andrew F. Gulli
(It should be noted that this story was found in the finding aids at Princeton–news organizations have referred to this story as “lost.” From researching a bibliography of Fitzgerald the story is listed as being housed in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Princeton University. I can only assume that newspapers who reported the story as being lost were using that in the context that the story was lost to the world of publishing and readers and not scholars.)