03/06/2010

Why CADS matters

Every new issue of CADS (Crime And Detective Stories) is an event on itself - because of both its irregularity and the invariably high quality of the content. The last issue, bearing number 58, is in a league of its own however as it marks the twenty-fifth aniversary of - let's not mince words - the best crime fiction periodical since The Armchair Detective. 

Readers of this blog know one of my recurring complaints is about the sorry state of mystery scholarship and the general lack of interest of authors, readers and critics alike in the history of the genre. That's what makes CADS so important - it is a magazine made by and for people who care for the What, Why, When and How of crime and mystery fiction. If you're looking for in-depth examination of the works of Mildred Davis, George Bellairs, Helen Simpson or Hilda Lawrence - all persons whose names would leave most in the fandom scratching their heads in bewilderment - then CADS is the place to go. While emphasis is put on the elders and betters of the genre, contemporary fare is not neglected and one of my favorite features is Bob Cornwell's Questionaire of an author - in this issue, Frances Fyfield - which refreshingly dispenses with the phony questions (and answers) of standard promotional interviews. 

That such a magazine lived long enough to celebrate its first quarter century is a miracle and a testimony to the passion of both its editors and readers. If you want the miracle to continue and CADS to turn 30, 50 and (why not?) 100, then you might consider joining the club by asking for your copy to Geoff Bradley, 9 Vicarage Hill, South Benfleet, Essex, SS7 1PA.  

Be warned, though: CADS is a dangerously, if delightfully, addictive experience. Which might be the final and best reason why it is so indispensable.

Further reading:

"25 Great Years" by Martin Edwards

"CADS" by Catherine Poulson