Talk:Michael Gilbert

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 Definition (1912 – 2006) Prolific British writer of mysteries and thrillers. [d] [e]
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Great entry

Really enjoyed your entry on Gilbert -- I've enjoyed his mysteries for many years. I still recall the cover of the old 35 cent paperback of Smallbone Deceased, with the poor fellow all crumpled up in his file drawer. Wish we could get that, or some other illustration we could legally use, to illustrate the entry! Russell Potter 22:08, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

I think that may be the edition I have. I will definitely scan it. So far I have been unable to figure out the mysteries of inserting images into CZ articles. Probably it isn't any harder than Wikipedia, but the BS involved is a little different. Stay tuned! Hayford Peirce 23:25, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
Rats! I have a 1961 British paperback edition but it isn't the one with the cover you mention. I've seen it elsewhere, however. I think I'll upload mine, in any case, and let someone else correct my copyright issue mistakes. Hayford Peirce 15:48, 18 May 2007 (CDT)

Request for help in getting permission for the image

Could anyone help in trying to get permission from the original publisher of this image? The publisher is Hodder & Stoughton, in London, England, and is an old, large publisher that is still in business as far as I know. This particular image was scanned from the cover of their book "Smallbone Deceased", by Michael Gilbert, published as a paperback in 1961 (there have been many other editions). Thank you for any help you can offer! ...said Hayford Peirce (talk) (Please sign your talk page posts by simply adding four tildes, ~~~~.)

Here is the exact page at Hodder for requesting permission by email:

Some further info needed from the actual book is

  • Whether the book cover is credited to another source besides Hodder (info should be on inside book cover)
  • Exact ISBN, Title and author of the book

Also, is this book cover ALL the requests that will be made from this publisher? (Best to make them all at once).

---Stephen Ewen


Presumably, you aren't claiming here that Hercule P. and Nero W. are Gilbert's characters (They aren't), I'm making a change in the structure of that sentence to clarify. It currently reads as if you were making that claim. Roger A. Lohmann (talk) 12:48, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

Oh my goodness! I must have seriously misread my sentence structure! Thanks! Hayford Peirce (talk) 17:02, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
I thought not! I hope the correction is satisfactory. Roger A. Lohmann (talk) 17:05, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
I THINK it could be argued, but I do see your viewpoint. I'm surprised that the characters at Wikipedia didn't pick up on it also -- but I changed it over there also.... Hayford Peirce (talk) 17:08, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

A suggestion: note his importance and reputation as a writer sooner?

I think the article would benefit from the reader being told right near the top, or at the beginning, that he won awards and was "highly acclaimed". If a reader like me, initially knowing nothing about Gilbert, comes along, you want to let them know right away that there is something worth finding out about down below. One possibility would be to swap the location of the section on his life-bio with that on his awards and acclaims (moving this right up under the intro). This problem is even worse over the current Wikipedia version, which opens with a single sentence so understated that one wonders why anyone would write about this author at all. Pat Palmer (talk) 21:27, 10 September 2020 (UTC)

PS - Aside from how many works he wrote, how popular were they and are they? How widely sold/read--can one guesstimate? Are they still in print in 2020? Etc.Pat Palmer (talk) 21:29, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestions. You're undoubtedly correct. I MAY have had that info in my original WP article, but it got so hacked and chopped by the vandals and cretins that I may have lost track of some of the priorities. I'll take a careful look.... Hayford Peirce (talk) 21:32, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
Have got all of his honors up into the lede -- an excellent idea. I ought to stick that same lede into the WP article just to see what happens. Probably would just get my blood pressure soaring. As for sales and books in print, this is very difficult to deal with unless one is a certified best-seller like King or Grisham. If you go to Amazon and you find five books by Gilbert available in Kindle, what actually does this mean? I think that for most of his 50-year career, you would have called him (in the trade) -- a "midlist" author who had smallish but reliable sales from one book to the next, never coming close to the best-seller lists, but always finding a modest audience. Like Haggard, Canning, Ross Thomas, and a host of others, his sales never matched his critical reputation. Had he not been a successful solicitor, he would probably have made a steady but quite modest living from his writing alone. But, of course, like another genius of approximately his generation, Michael Innes, in addition to his books and short stories, he also found time to write radio and television scripts that obvious brought him in additional income. All I can do is shake my head in admiration and total bafflement as to how they could do it. Hayford Peirce (talk) 00:09, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
Here's the WP article about midlists -- tells you just exactly what you want to know. Hayford Peirce (talk) 00:12, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
Interesting. Since so many of his books are NOT available electronically, but the used out-of-print copies are still selling, it's likely safe to say that he is still popular with readers today via the online marketplace for used books. Check the prices of used copies of his better works. It they are more than maybe $4+shipping, my guess is there is still demand for them.Pat Palmer (talk) 01:33, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
Yes, my own feeling is that he is a "classic" of sorts and will continue to generate income for his Estate for many years to come. Not a fortune, but a nice little amount every year....Hayford Peirce (talk) 15:39, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
Different policies. WP policy is that the lead is supposed to summarize whatever is in the article. Ours, traditionally, is to start by indicating what's important about the topic. Peter Jackson (talk) 09:31, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation -- saves me from wasting my time putting in the CZ lede, since I'm sure it would be taken right out again. Hayford Peirce (talk) 17:09, 12 September 2020 (UTC)
Getting back to the question of Gilbert books in print: a couple of small-press publishers, both in the States and England that published his latter books and collections of stories and radio plays etc, are now out of business. But here in the States are still going and have several collections of his. But I am 99% sure that they are a print-on-demand company, like Wildside, the company that still has MY books. If you go to Amazon, for instance, or directly to their own site, to order a Gilbert book, they put through the order to a printing company (used to be a big one in Tennessee) and ONE book is printed and then sent to you by one handler or another. So you can say, Yes, Gilbert has six books still in print. But is a print-on-demand book really the same as a Stephen King book being in print with Random House or whoever it is? As I said above, these days the publishing business is a very, very complicated one. Hayford Peirce (talk) 17:16, 12 September 2020 (UTC)