I’d planned on waiting a few weeks to publish my collected columns from Linn’s Stamp News. Incredibly, I’ve already brought out six new books in 2011, and you’d think that would be enough. But I gathered twenty-five columns together, into a file running just over 52,000 words, and I saw to the editing and formatting, and the next think I knew I found myself laying out type on a cover photo and tweaking it a bit, and in no time at all—

Generally SpeakingGENERALLY SPEAKING: A Philatelic Patchwork, my seventh book for 2011, just sneaking in under the wire on the night before Christmas. It available only as an eBook, bearing an introductory price of $2.99, and if that’s all you need to know you can order it now at Kindle or Nook or Smashwords.

If you’re still with me, let me tell you a little about it. Like Keller, I collected stamps as a child. I stayed with the hobby a little longer than my fictional hit man, but drifted away from it in my late twenties, and sold my collections when my first marriage failed. Around fifteen years ago I took it up again—and shortly thereafter so did Keller. (How’s that for coincidence?)

It was in the last chapter of the first book, Hit Man, that Keller returned to the philatelic fold. (He thought it would enrich his planned retirement, but instead it depleted his retirement fund and kept him on the job.) Through the subsequent books—Hit List, Hit Parade, and Hit & Run—Keller’s pastime has played a prominent role, and a special philatelic edition of Hit & Run found a receptive market among stamp collectors.

In mid-2009, after I’d been writing about Keller and his stamps for over a decade, I wrote an article on my own return to collecting. I sent it to Michael Baadke, editor of Linn’s, and we agreed that I would contribute a column once a month…and I’ve done so ever since. The column’s overall title, like that of the new book, is Generally Speaking.

If you’re a regular or occasional reader of Linn’s, now’s your chance to get all the columns in one package—or to send them to that philatelic friend who got an eReader for Christmas.

If you have even a passing interest in stamps, but don’t subscribe to Linn’s, you’ll probably find much to interest you in Generally Speaking. It’s written from the perspective of a worldwide collector of philately’s first century, 1840 to 1940, and treats topics ranging from some of the decisions a collector has to make (“Mint or Used?”, “Condition, Condition, and Condition”) to the manner in which international conflict enriches our hobby (“The Philatelic Upside of War”) and a stamp collector’s perspective on the German hyperinflation of 1923 (“How Much is That Dachshund in the Fenster?”).

And if you’re a Keller fan, you may find Generally Speaking of interest even if you regard a stamp as just something to paste on an envelope. It may give you a fuller sense of what Keller’s doing when he’s sitting with a magnifier in one hand and a pair of tongs in the other, and why he finds the whole business so satisfying. (And it’s information that may enrich the experience of reading Hit Me, the fifth Keller novel, coming from Mulholland Books in February 2013.)

Whatever your level of philatelic interest, you can get a no-cost glimpse of Generally Speaking. Any of the listed sites, Kindle Nook Smashwords, will allow you to download a free sample chapter. If it’s not to your taste, all you’re out is the few minutes it’s taken you to read the sample. If you like it enough to buy the whole book, all you’re out is $2.99.

And if you’re wondering whether there’ll be a paper edition of the book, well, you’re not alone. I’m wondering myself. My guess is that this one will be eBook only, but time will tell. As it so often does.


The Night & The Music, the complete Matthew Scudder short stories, was ePublished three months ago at an introductory price of $2.99. Sometime after the first of the year it will go up in price, most likely to $4.99. If you don’t yet own it yourself, or if you’d like to slip a gift into the eReader someone just got for Christmas, you’ll save two bucks by doing it sooner rather than later.

Here are links for The Night & The Music. Go for it! Kindle Nook Smashwords Apple

The price for the trade paperback will remain unchanged at $16.99. Go to Matthew Scudder’s Page for more about that.


In a recent newsletter I wrote about Hard Case Crime #69, published in conjunction with Subterranean Press, and containing two early pseudonymous books of mine, Strange Embrace and 69 Barrow Street; the hardcover volume will have the books bound back to back in the manner of the old Ace double volumes.

The book’s scheduled for publication the end of May. The list price of $30 is very reasonable, given the production quality of Subterranean’s work. (Alas, I can’t vouch for the quality of the novels themselves.) But I’ve just learned that Amazon has the double volume available for pre-order at $19.80, a savings of 34%. That kind of savings would seem to argue for an early order, and would also ensure you of a first edition copy of a book that might sell out in a hurry.