I've just returned from a terrific, if all too brief, holiday in Spain, but before I say anything about my trip, I want to talk about someone whose death I was saddened to learn about whilst I was travelling. Ed Gorman, a crime novelist, short story writer, anthologist and blogger of distinction, has passed away, and I'm so sorry about this news. Ed's courage in dealing with serious illness over the past few years has been admirable, and it's such a shame that he's finally lost his battle. But he leaves many people, including me, with warm memories as well as a wonderful literary legacy.
Over the years, I've mentioned Ed numerous times on this blog. My first encounter with him was unexpected but not, as I later learned, untypical. One day, about twenty years ago, I received a phone call out of the blue. The chap on the other end of the line told me he was an American called Ed Gorman, and that he'd just read an article I'd written for a British magazine about Robert Barnard. He said he was involved with the US magazine Mystery Scene and would like to reprint it. I was more than happy to agree, and thus began our friendship.
Ed told me he was calling from Iowa, and I soon discovered that he was very much a home bird. I think I'm right in saying that even quite a few of his American pals never actually met him, although they, like me, bonded with him through phone calls and emails. Ed was one of those guys whose generosity was striking, and he did me a number of kindnesses over the years. He was, for instance, responsible for my finding an American publisher for Take My Breath Away.
We enjoyed each other's writing, exchanging books on several occasions, and I have a nice collection of some of Ed's novels and short stories, with some marvellous personal inscriptions. Our shared love of pop music was another connection, and he introduced me to Shelby Lynne, as well as sharing my taste for novels with titles taken from pop songs - my Harry Devlin series, and his books such as the excellent Ticket to Ride. Twice he included stories of mine - "The Bookbinder's Apprentice", and a rather less well-known one, "Clutter" - in his anthologies of the year's best short crime fiction. I always enjoyed hearing from him, and although we never met in person, he will stay in my thoughts.