About Leo Bruce Fan Club, Japan

Our little community, Leo Bruce Fan Club, Japan was established in 1983.

The original motive was simple: there are many fan clubs for famous crime writers such as Margery Allingham, R. A. Freeman and Rex Stout. Why not for Leo Bruce?
So, it started as a few Leo Bruce addicts, getting together to read and enjoy chatting about the novels. Then, in 1987, I determined to issue a small volume of hommages for Leo Bruce. It was titled "Aunt Aurora" after a character in "Neck and Neck". I suppose this was a strange event for Japanese mystery fans because the name of Leo Bruce was less well-known at that time. Whenever I referred to the Leo Bruce Fan Club in gatherings of detective fiction fans, I noticed a surprised expression on most faces. Most Japanese enthusiasts did not know Leo Bruce, because his novel had not been translated into Japanese at all except one, "At Death's Door" - and this novel had been out of print for thirty years long. They might be ashamed of their ignorance. For those who knew Leo Bruce, I suspected they did not recognise him worth organising a fan club because of his exceeding minority.
The circumstances have surprisingly improved since then. The members of the Fan Club now number fifty. Six volumes of "Aunt Aurora" have now been issued, with a seventh volume due soon. The major feature of our fanzine "Aunt Aurora" is that it usually contains a translation of one of the novels and it is possible that readers who are interested in but not familiar with Leo Bruce's work become his ardent fans through our magazine. Furthermore, two of his novels, "Jack on the Gallows Tree" and "Case with Ropes and Rings", have been published to attract the attention of Japanese detective fiction addicts (the latter was translated by myself). Is it too optimistic to think that this comes as a result of our activities?

Leo Bruce's novels were not easy to obtain, so it was fortunate that at an early stage our activity coincided with reprints of the novels by Ian Henry Publications in Great Britain and Academy Chicago in the United States. Personally, it took more than ten years to complete my collection of his novels, including reprint editions. I cannot imagine how many years it would take to complete the collection with first editions (preferably in more than very good condition with attractive dust wrappers). It is one of my personal dreams.

As the reader may have already noticed, the name of our fan club is accompanied with our country. This is because we expect that you shall have your own Leo Bruce Fan Club in each country. It is wonderful for us to be able to promote friendship through Leo Bruce, isn't it?

Originally published in "Tangled Web", issue 1 (1995), but slightly revised.

Address of the Leo Bruce Fan Club, Japan
Dr. Susumu KOBAYASHI (Manager of this page and the president of this club)

3-23-5 Akabane-nishi, Kita-ku, Tokyo, 115-0055 Japan
Tel: +81-3-3906-3386
e-mail to Dr. Susumu Kobayashi

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