Edgar Allan Poe Award Winner’s 80-Year-Old Mystery Story Found

Down & Out Books is thrilled to announce the discovery of Edgar Allan Poe Award winner John McAleer’s Henry Von Stray mystery story, “The Case of the Illustrious Banker.” McAleer created Von Stray in 1937 during the Golden Age of Mystery. McAleer’s son Paul recently discovered the original hand-written manuscript of “Illustrious Banker” among his father’s papers. “Illustrious Banker” features circa-1920s London-based private detective Henry Von Stray and his able collaborator in the detection of crime Professor John W. Dilpate. The story will be featured in Down & Out Books’s upcoming anthology Edgar and Shamus Go Golden: Twelve Tales of Murder, Mystery, and Master Detection, edited by Gay Kinman and Andrew McAleer (December 2022).

Down & Out Books publisher Eric Campbell said of the discovery, “We couldn’t be more delighted here that Edgar winner John McAleer’s private detective Henry Von Stray—created during the Golden Age of Mystery—will make his sensational crime-fighting debut with Down & Out Books. Edgar and Shamus Go Golden is devoted to mystery stories written in the Golden Age tradition by some of the most distinguished Edgar-winning and Shamus-winning authors in the business today. Preserving an original work from this important literary period makes it even more enjoyable.”

According to Paul, more Von Stray stories may exist. “On August 4, 1937, my father made the following diary entry: ‘I am writing detective stories. So far I have written three, “The Case of the Illustrious Banker”; “The Murder Case at Lord Beachly’s”; and the one I am writing now is “The Case of Sir Moreland’s Lost Pearls.” The name of the detective is Henry Von Stray.’” Paul added, “You can bet a quest to locate more Von Stray stories is afoot!”

Hailed as a master biographer by Jacques Barzun, Professor John McAleer (Ph.D. Harvard) won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Rex Stout: A Biography. After serving in World War II, Professor McAleer taught English literature at Boston College for more than half a century.