Victoria Mixon, Author & Editor Editing     Testimonials     Books     Advice     About     Contact       Copyright


MILLLICENT G. DILLON, represented by Harold Ober Associates, is the world’s expert on authors Jane and Paul Bowles. She has won five O. Henry Awards and been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner. I worked with Dillon on her memoir, The Absolute Elsewhere, in which she describes in luminous prose her private meeting with Albert Einstein to discuss the ethics of the atomic bomb. Read more. . .

SASHA TROYAN is a Professor of English at Montclair University and author of the critically-acclaimed novels Angels in the Morning and The Forgotten Island, both Booksense Selections, beautiful stories based upon her childhood in France. I worked with Troyan to develop her new novels, Marriage A Trois and Semester. Read more. . .

LUCIA ORTH is the author of the debut novel, Baby Jesus Pawn Shop, which received critical acclaim from Publisher’s Weekly, NPR, Booklist, Library Journal and Small Press Reviews. I have edited a number of essays and articles for Orth. Read more. . .

BHAICHAND PATEL, retired after an illustrious career with the United Nations, is now a journalist based out of New Dehli and Bombay, an expert on Bollywood, and author of three non-fiction books published by Penguin. I edited Patel’s best-selling debut novel, Mothers, Lovers, and Other Strangers, published by Pan Macmillan. Read more. . .

SCOTT WILBANKS, represented by Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, is the author of the debut novel, The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster, published by Sourcebooks in August, 2015. I’m working with Wilbanks on his sophomore novel, Easy Pickens, the story of the world’s only medically-diagnosed case of chronic naiveté. Read more. . .

SCOTT WARRENDER is a professional musician and Annie Award-nominated lyricist specializing in musical theater. I work with Warrender regularly on his short stories and debut novel, Putaway. Read more. . .

M. TERRY GREEN enjoys a successful self-publishing career with multiple sci-fi/fantasy series set in the Multiverse, based upon her expertise in anthropology and technology. I worked with Green to develop a new speculative fiction series. Read more. . .

ANIA VESENNY, represented by Beverly Slopen Literary Agency, is a recipient of the Evelyn Sullivan Gilbertson Award for Emerging Artist in Literature and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I edited Vesenny’s debut novel, Swearing in Russian at the Northern Lights, and her second novel, Sandara. Read more. . .

STUART WAKEFIELD is the #1 Kindle Best Selling author of Body of Water, the first novel in his Orcadian Trilogy. Body of Water was 1 of 10 books long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize. I edited Wakefield’s second novel, Memory of Water, and look forward to editing the final novel of his Orcadian Trilogy, Spirit of Water. Read more. . .

GERALDINE EVANS is a best-selling British author. Her historical novel, Reluctant Queen, is a Category No 1 Best Seller on Amazon UK. I edited Death Dues, #11 in Evans’ fifteen popular Rafferty and Llewellyn cozy police procedurals, which received a glowing review from the Midwest Book Review. Read more. . .

JUDY LEE DUNN is an award-winning marketing blogger. I am working with Dunn to develop and line edit her memoir of reconciling liberal activism with her emotional difficulty accepting the lesbianism of her beloved daughter, Tonight Show comedienne Kellye Rowland. Read more. . .

JEFF RUSSELL is the author of the debut novel, The Rules of Love and Law, based upon Jeff’s abiding passions for legal history and justice. Read more. . .

LEN JOY is the author of the debut novel, American Past Time. I worked with Len to develop his novel from its core: a short story about the self-destructive ambitions of a Minor League baseball star. Read more. . .

ALEX KENDZIORSKI is an American physician working in South Africa on community health education and wildlife conservation. I edited Kendziorski’s debut novel Wait a Season for Their Names about the endangered African painted wolf, for which he is donating the profits to wildlife conservation. Read more. . .

ALEXANDRA GODFREY blogs for the New England Journal of Medicine. I work with Godfrey on her short fiction and narrative nonfiction, including a profile of the doctor who helped save her son’s life, “Mending Broken Hearts.” Read more. . .

In addition, I work with scores of aspiring writers in their apprenticeship to this wonderful literary art and craft.

  • By Victoria Mixon

    A couple of weeks ago Sabine asked a fabulous question in the comments on Being Interviewed by Rachel X Russell:

    Thanks for that great interview. Your obvious love of literature is refreshing in an environment where there is too much talk about sales and marketing.

    Speaking of vintage mysteries, I know you have written posts about Hammett and Chandler before, but do you think you might write a post about obscure writers from the 20s to 50s that are worth rediscovering?

    Despite having a TBR pile that’s trying to reach the sky (and well on its way to succeed) I’m always on the lookout for ‘new’ authors and I’m sure your readers would be interested too!

    The answer to this question is actually enormously long and involved, however I am (technically) not even here this week, as this is O’Reilly Media’s OSCON week. We normally spend this week in Portland, Oregon, while my husband gives presentations and talks and hangs out playing guitar and singing Bohemian Rhaopsody on the floor in the halls of the Portland Conference Center with all the great minds who have changed your life through computer technology.

    Bohemian Rhapsody is kind of the theme song of the geek world.

    Even worse, Portland is home to the infamous four-story city block of used books, Powell’s Books, which is where I get a lot of my best vintage stuff. I have to cover my eyes and run past the shelves of vintage westerns and Daphne du Mauriers—vintage mystery is my speciality, and as much as I long to, I simply can’t collect everything.

    So I will just first show you what I’m reading right now:

    What I just read this weekend:

    And what I intend to read this week:

    And I’ll give you a list of authors to look up (just so you know, these are all mystery authors):

    1. Ngaio Marsh

    2. Julian Symons

    3. Georges Simenon

    4. Margaret Margery Allingham

    5. Ellery Queen

    6. S.S. Van Dine

    7. Erle Stanley Gardner

    8. Rex Stout

    9. Mary Roberts Rhinehart

    10. The famous creator of Winnie-the-Pooh wrote a mystery:

    11. A.A. Milne, The Red House Murder

    12. In addition, there are the little-known:

    13. David Alexander

    14. Cleve F. Adams

    15. Dorothy B. Hughes

    16. Leslie Ford

    17. The dreamily-beautiful:

    18. John Franklin Bardin

    19. And my favorite mystery title ever:

    20. Eunice Mays Boyd, Murder Wears Mukluks

    21. Edith Wharton also wrote a collection of ghost stories that are totally worth reading.

    I’ve taken these names from the bookshelves over my desk, and there are hundreds up there, so I’m probably missing some excellent authors. Also, many of these authors began in the 1920s and continued to publish into the 1960s, so you’ll find eras all over the board. But these should get you started.

    Pay attention to the quality of the writing, even in what was once considered throwaway pulp.

    You won’t see that attention to detail, pacing, tension, and reader investment in most modern fiction anymore.

    Also, I’ve reviewed something like a hundred of these vintage mysteries on Goodreads.



    “The freshest and most relevant
    advice you’ll find.”

    —Helen Gallagher, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

    The Art & Craft of Writing Fiction

    The Art & Craft of Writing Stories




10 Responses to “20 Brilliant Vintage Authors”

  1. I’ve not heard of most of these authors but of course I’ll be exploring them as your recommendations have always resulted in enjoyable, (not to mention useful for study), reads.

    If anyone is interested – the Kindle version of the A.A. Milne book is free on Amazon. Yes, of course I’ve already downloaded it. 🙂

    My reading list is getting Too Long! But I appreciate it Victoria.
    By the way, after reading Paul Bowles’s The Sheltering Sky, (one of the best reads ever), I am now reading The Stories of Paul Bowles, a large anthology, and am thoroughly enjoying it. Thanks so much!

  2. Victoria said on

    Oh, Deanna, Bowles wrote beautiful stuff, didn’t he? Up Above the World lost some of the extraordinary believability of his three earlier novels, but it’s still wonderfully written. Especially when you compare it to modern fiction.

    Raymond Chandler once wrote a blistering analysis of The Red House Murder, which I’m afraid I have to agree with. It’s a silly trick plot along the lines of many of Agatha Christie’s cheater endings. But it’s fun to have in the collection.

    A surprising number of straight ‘literary’ authors turned their hands to the mystery genre for only one (or two) novel, with varying results.

    Somerset Maugham did it. Gypsy Rose Lee (who wasn’t even a writer) did it. And of course Dickens did it.

    I just finished an analysis of The Mystery of Edwin Drood a few weeks ago and found I disagree 100% on one point with “the majority of the critics” as cited in the intro: obviously the mysterious white-haired man is not the sister, a woman everyone’s already met, but the valet who quietly disappears while his master goes on as though nothing is amiss.

    That master was going to be the man who solved the mystery.

  3. Thanks for the references, Victoria! I’m sure at least Edith Wharton’s ghost stories are available on I already knew about Simenon, who had the great writer Colette as his mentor. She advised him again and again to write with “less words”—great advice, and not one you would expect from Colette, who had the opposite of a terse style. Goes to show that good editors pay attention to a writer’s voice, and not (just) to a mere set of rules…

  4. Victoria said on

    Oh, yeah, I imagine Wharton’s stuff is available free online, but I never mind paying a few bucks for a used paperback.

    The interesting thing about Colette’s advice to Simenon is that she’s exactly right. Her style is deceptively smooth—which means she took out all the extra words.

    Simenon had pretty hardcore writing habits: he typed his novels out super-fast, so he was eliminating the words while they were still in his head. I just got a bio of him citing Simenon as the author of over 400 books. There’s a photo of his calendar that shows his schedule: eight days to write a book, three days to revise.

    That’s a journalist’s kind of schedule, boy howdy.

  5. Isn’t that Margery Allingham (rather than Margaret)?

    I’ve heard of the first ten, but 11 – 16 are new to me. If you want to go back a little further in time, into the 1800s/early 1900s, Anna Katharine Green and Melville Davisson Post are both awesome.

    Did you say vintage westerns…? If I got into that store, there’s no telling when I’d come out! A couple of my favorite authors are early Western writers whose books are out of print and hard to come by.

  6. Victoria said on

    Did I say Margaret? Of course you’re right. I was typing fast.

    I’ll fix it. Thanks for the eagle eye, Elisabeth!

    I’ve heard of Anna Katherine Green, but most Melville Davisson Post, so thank you for the suggestion & reminder! I tend to read whatever’s old & funky that I find on second-hand bookstore shelves, where Green & Post are probably not going to turn up.

    Powell’s Books has a whole shelf of vintage stuff near the mystery stacks where I hang out. I always pick through just in case they accidentally shelved a good mystery there, but they don’t. They’re pretty smart.

    Powell’s in is Portland, Oregon, but you can find them online. I believe whatever they have in the store they can sell you by mail-order.

  7. I’ve been in a big retro reading mood lately, so thanks for the suggestions!

    I’m a huge fan of Rafael Sabatini, and though he’s mostly known for adventure novels, he also wrote some historical mystery shorts that I really enjoyed.

  8. Victoria said on

    Thanks for the Sabatini recommendation, Donna. What’s his era?

  9. […] weeks ago I did a post that was almost nothing but the covers of fabulous vintage mysteries and a list of some of my favorite vintage authors. And that post was in response to a question […]

  10. […] Virginia. In case you’re new here, that conversation was caused by a post I did that was all lurid, over-the-top covers of vintage mysteries. And that post was caused by Sabine in the comments on an even earlier post when I was interviewed […]