Fashion in reading is an odd thing – not only that we forget the recent past – but what survives. Courtier is a case in point. I read at the State Library of Victoria site that
Sidney Hobson (or S. H.) Courtier should be much better known than he is today. He wrote twenty-four crime novels, and even though they unfold just as dramatically in just as atmospheric Australian bush settings as Arthur Upfield’s – if not more so – by comparison they have been largely forgotten.
Having devoured all of Upfield’s books as a kid, I’m wondering now if I should try Courtier, somebody I’ve never heard of before. It’s hard not to be curious about the books he wrote last:
In 1967 Courtier suffered a devastating stroke that robbed him of speech and some movement, however he doggedly taught himself to speak again using a series of speech exercises that he devised himself. (Later he tried unsuccessfully to have these published.) Significantly, he wrote about sensory loss in four of his subsequent crime novels – the loss of movement in No Obelisk for Emily (1970), the loss of memory in Dead If I Remember (1972), the loss of hearing in Into the Silence (1973),43 and the loss of sanity in The Smiling Trip (1975).