Desperate Days: Selected Mysteries, Volume Two

Desperate Days: Selected Mysteries, Volume Two

Illustration By Ken Laager

Edited by Terry Dowling and Jonathan Strahan

Dust jacket by Ken Laager

Being there...

Jack Vance has long been F&SF's grand master of regional science fiction, creating living, breathing locales on distant worlds or on our own fabulously transformed, often magical future Earth that are second to none.

But at the same time he was giving us these vivid, award-winning fantasy and science fictional settings, even as he was exploring the far corners of this world as a keen and inveterate traveller, Jack was vigorously pursuing an exciting and promising parallel career as a writer of mystery and suspense novels under his given name of John Holbrook Vance.

The three JHV mysteries featured here, The Fox Valley MurdersThe Pleasant Grove Murders and The Dark Ocean were produced during the mid-60s, in the same fertile years that Jack sent Cugel the Clever off exploring the Dying Earth in The Eyes of the Overworld, left Sklar Hast to face danger among the kragen in The Blue World and gave Kirth Gersen a third Demon Prince to track down in The Palace of Love.

Even as Jack was hard at work producing high adventure in such interstellar "regional" locales as Sogdian, Sarkovy and Blue World, he found time to don his other hat and concoct alway interesting, often life-changing, sometimes desperate, adventures for Sheriff Joe Bain in Central California's San Rodrigo County, a Vance setting as intricate, vividly rendered and closely observed as any of his SF and fantasy creations. So, too, he gave personable, wilful naif Betty Haverhill all manner of life and death thrills aboard the Italian freighter Garda on its way to Europe.

A follow-up volume to the widely acclaimed Dangerous Ways: Selected Mysteries, Subterranean Press is proud to present Desperate Days: Selected Mysteries 2, a book not just for the true connoisseur of the master's distinctive blend of intrigue and derring-do, but for anyone who relishes a good, well-told detective yarn set in an unforgettable time and place.

"I like regionalism in American detective stories, and I really enjoy reading about the problems of a rural country sheriff...and I bless John Holbrook Vance for the best job of satisfying these tastes with his wonderful tales of Sheriff Joe Bain...All very sound, real and enjoyable."
--Anthony Boucher, New York Times, 1967, reviewing The Pleasant Grove Murders

"This is detective fiction at its best."
--King Features Syndicate, 1967

Trade: Fully cloth bound hardcover edition
Lettered: 26 signed leatherbound copies, housed in a custom traycase

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction by Terry Dowling and Jonathan Strahan
  • The Fox Valley Murders
  • The Pleasant Grove Murders
  • The Dark Ocean
  • The Genesee Slough Murders: Outline for a Novel (Lettered Edition only)

From Publishers Weekly:
"This second collection of Vance crime novels edited by Terry Dowling and Jonathan Strahan (after 2011's Dangerous Ways) shows Vance to be a highly skilled practitioner of the traditional mystery… Fans of mysteries with a strong regional flavor will be rewarded"

From SF Site:
“Readers who know and love Vance for his sff will not be disappointed…in Desperate Days.”

Ken Laager
Jack Vance
608 pages
United States
Out of Print