Welcome to the new version of The Stone House, my tribute website to Gladys Mitchell and her lively psycho-analyst detective, Mrs. Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley.
I began the website -- which is named after Mrs. Bradley's home on the edge of the New Forest, referenced in The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop and other novels -- way back in 2001 as a way to share some information about the author and her writing.
Back then, I was a fledgling classic mystery fan, and all I could find for information on the 66 books in the Mrs. Bradley/Dame Beatrice series was a list of titles and a few articles about the author. Nothing existed on the Internet as a source to let readers know about the plotlines and merits of all those Gladys Mitchell books with all those intriguing, enticing titles: The Longer Bodies, St. Peter's Finger, The Echoing Strangers, Nest of Vipers, Death of a Burrowing Mole. Wanting to know more about this new author and the many works waiting to be read, I was a bit disappointed to find so little information. But I also saw it as a challenge and a service if I could do my part to fill the gap.
I was fortunate also that, in the early 2000s, merchant-supported selling websites like Abebooks and eBay were just starting to become popular with booksellers with inventories which, in the pre-Internet days, were largely confined to their shops. While major reprints and e-book titles of Gladys Mitchell's mysteries were still several years away, for the first time I had a web-assisted connection to the shelves and stock of national and international booksellers.
For a few years, I scanned the sites daily for my new favorite author's name, and would purchase whatever was still needed to fill my collection. Just as it is now, I had very limited spending resources, and my collection became a motley but beloved jumble of Penguin paperbacks, some dustjacket-less first editions, American reprints, and even a few Magna and Linford Library large-print tomes. I still have some texts only because of the kindness of British fans who took the time to photocopy the pages of their rarest books and share them with me. That was how I initially got to experience Printer's Error and Brazen Tongue, before Andrew Osmond's lovely Minnow Press took up the crusade to bring these titles back into print.
And now, 16 years later, I'm ready to give The Stone House a new look and a new lease. Over those years, I've had the great privilege to hear from and communicate with dozens of fans, admirers, collectors, and acquaintances of Gladys Mitchell. I'm especially heartened to know that the stories written by The Great Gladys -- and indeed by Golden Age detective authors in general -- seem to be more accessible than ever, thanks to eBook formats and a genre readership continually looking for new discoveries.
Gladys Mitchell never attained the status of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, although they were all members of The Detection Club and prolific writers with wide-ranging interests. It is Mitchell, though, who initially sparked my interest, partly because of the fascinating, mischievous prose of her books published in the first two decades of her career, and partly because I always want to champion the underdog, to call attention to the unjustly neglected or the unsung hero.
Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley consistently confounds expectations, and both the character and its creator deserve a website that celebrates and catalogs their many impressive achievements. Thanks for visiting!