Edgar Award Winning Crime Writer Celia Fremlin Dies

Evidently Celia Fremlin, whose 1958 novel THE HOURS BEFORE DAWN won the Edgar Award for Best Novel and who wrote more than 20 works of fiction and non-fiction, died on June 16 in a nursing home in Bournemouth, just four days shy of her 95th birthday. Martin Edwards reported the news first and, like me, is puzzled that it hadn’t reached more people until now. Jan Burke also pays tribute to Fremlin and her Edgar-winning novel, saying that “those of you who want a look at women’s lives in late 1950s — as well

as some insight into women’s lives now, will find that without the

least bit of preaching, Fremlin gives you something to think about.”

Oddly enough, Maureen Corrigan included Fremlin’s novel in her recent roundup of summer mystery reading picks for the Progressive Book Club, which ran just eight days after Fremlin’s death: “This one is probably not in print (1958 is the date on my first

edition) but I’d love to make a pitch for it. It’s the first mystery

that I know of in which a woman who’s recently given birth and is sleep

deprived as a result sees things she shouldn’t see in the small hours

of the evening. Proto-feminist in its politics.” As it turns out, THE HOURS BEFORE DAWN is in print, from Academy Chicago publishers, and I’d been meaning to track down a copy of the book since Corrigan’s piece aired. Now I will – and I suspect others will, too.