Uitnodiging tot een Mood

(Invitation to Murder)

I was doing all these mystery anthologies for Amsterdam publisher Peter Loeb, see, and finally I suggested that he put out a single-author volume of my own stories. Surprised, he told me that he'd had no idea I even wrote stories myself, and asked to see some. I showed him, and he agreed to do an all-Pachter collection.

I selected a total of 16 stories: "De Hijger" ("Crank Call"), "Maskerade" ("Masquerade"), "Kettingreactie" ("Chain Reaction"), "De Tip" ("S.O.S."), "Een Koude Douche" ("A Clear Case of Death"), "Mijn Broeders Hoeder" ("My Brother's Keeper"), "De Moord op Marja" ("Murdering Mary"), "Het Doet Maar Eventjes Pijn" ("This Will Only Hurt for a Moment"), "De Hele Waarheid Over Hoe Ik 't 'm Gelapt Hep" ("The Whole Truth About How I Done It"), "Busman's Holiday," "Andermans Gras" ("The Other Man's Grass"), "De Kwartjesautomaat" ("The Dime Machine"), "Uitnodiging tot een Moord" ("Invitation to a Murder"), "Oostenrijks Intermezzo" ("Assignment: Vienna"), "De Laatste Rekenliniaalfabriek" ("The Last Slide-Rule Company"), "Tijd voor een Verandering" ("Time for a Change"), "De Ontsnapping" ("The Escape"), "Een Besloten Moord" ("A Locked-Room Murder"). Lydia and I did the translations.

The cover photograph was one I'd taken myself at a flea market in Cologne, West Germany, in 1976. (You can read more about the picture and see a wider version of it here , if you're interested. Use your browser's Back button to return to this page.) On the back cover, there's room for the standard author photo. Lydia and I went into a grotty warehouse district on the outskirts of Amsterdam and shot a roll of black-and-white pictures. The one I selected for the book appears at the left, but somehow it was accidentally left off the cover.

At the time, only "Crank Call," "S.O.S.," "A Clear Case of Death," and "Invitation to a Murder" had been published in English. Later on, "Chain Reaction" and "Assignment: Vienna" would appear in Espionage, and "Busman's Holiday" in New Black Mask. To date, the other 10 stories have only been published in Dutch.

The book got solid reviews and sold well as a trade paperback, and publishing giant Bruna eventually put out a mass-market edition in their Zwarte Beertjes line. Boring cover, but this one also sold very nicely.

When I started selling my Mahboob Chaudri stories to EQMM and AHMM, Peter Loeb wanted to do a second all-me volume, this one gathering together the Mahboobs and adding a number of additional stories. We were going to call it Het Levensboom (The Tree of Life) after the third entry in the Mahboob series, and again I was going to take the cover photograph, which was going to show a scene from the story acted out by Playmobil figures. (I even got permission from the Playmobil company!) Around that time, though, I decided that I was unhappy with the way the Loebs did business, and I withdrew the manuscript.

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