A TASTE FOR HONEY. London, Toronto, Melbourne and Sydney, Cassell and Company Ltd., . Octavo, pp. [i-iv] v [vi] 1- original gray cloth stamped in black. First British edition. The first of the three weird mystery novels featuring an old and somewhat mysterious scientist/detective who keeps bees in a rural Sussex village and calls himself Mr. Mycroft (in this Cassell edition it's Mr. Bowcross, "only one of my family names," which the retired Great Detective is now using "because my full name was once pretty widely known"). "When this novel was first published in 1941, it caused something of a stir. NEWSWEEK lauded it as 'one of the ten best mysteries of all time.' Such prominent Sherlockians and mystery fans as Vincent Starrett and Boris Karloff sang its praises, calling it 'terrifying ... perfectly done' and 'a triumph of ingenuity.' To this day some aficionados consider it a classic." - Pronzini and Muller, 1001 Midnights, pp. 352-3. To be truthful, after this laudatory preamble, Bill Pronzini absolutely trashes Heard's novel, and this cataloguer has to agree that the narrator, Sydney Silchester -- Mycroft's unwilling companion, who just wants to be left alone to putter about in his garden and to indulge his taste for honey -- "is a twit, one of the dullest, most annoying protagonists the genre has yet produced." But he's so egocentric he's fun, and so is the book. Heard is "now remembered mostly for his delightful novel A TASTE OF HONEY ... Set in the British countryside, ably characterized, with a leisurely pace, it is perhaps the finest novel-length pastiche of Sherlock Holmes -- even though Holmes is not mentioned by name." - E. F. Bleiler, Lesley Henderson (ed.), Twentieth-Century Crime and Mystery Writers, Third Edition, p. 521. A Haycraft-Queen cornerstone. The novel was the basis for "The Deadly Bees," a very bad 1967 British horror film directed by Freddie Francis from a screenplay by Robert Bloch. Bleiler (1948), p. 146. Reginald 07007. Not in Bleiler (1978). Hubin (1994), p. 388. Owner's name and date on front free endpaper. A fine copy in very good dust jacket with shelf wear, shallow chipping and closed tears at edges. The 1941 Vanguard edition turns up, this Cassell edition seldom does -- and it's very, very scarce in its jacket. (#130731).
"First published in Great Britain, 1942" on copyright page.