Saturday, February 25, 2017

NEW -- The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Our newest Monroe St. Press title is The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Charles Dickens' final, unfinished serial "whodunit", that has continued to fascinate readers for nearly 150 years.

Dickens wrote Edwin Drood as a serial to be published (as were many of his other famous works) in monthly installments. When he died on June 9, 1870, at age 58, three installments had already been published and he had completed three more which appeared after his death.

However, he had planned to write 12 installments, so the story was only about half completed, and the mystery at its heart—the disappearance of the title character one stormy Christmas Eve—remained unsolved.

Almost immediately after the final installment appeared in September 1870, other authors tried their hand at finishing what Dickens had left undone. Some wrote serious versions of the story and attempted to imitate Dickens' style as closely as possible; others wrote humorous or satirical versions; and one author claimed he had literally "ghostwritten" his version with the assistance of Dickens himself —speaking from the Great Beyond.

The story also inspired a mock "trial" in 1914 in which literary figures such as G.K. Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw took part; at least four movie versions and two television series; and a popular musical in which the audience determines the culprit.

This edition includes original illustrations by Luke Fildes, created for the serial version of the story, and an afterword examining later attempts to solve the "mystery".  It's now available at Amazon at a list price of $10.00.

Watch this blog for more exciting announcements and upcoming projects by Monroe St. Press!

Winter War 44

Monroe St. Press's first event of 2017 was the Winter War 44 gaming convention held in Champaign, IL Jan. 27-29.

This annual gathering of tabletop, miniature and role-playing game enthusiasts is one of the longest-running in the Midwest. The relaxed atmosphere, comfortable accommodations and wide variety of games available make this event an excellent choice for a winter weekend getaway. Here's just a sampling:

This game, titled Operation Catapult, recreates a 1940 British strike against French ships off the coast of Algeria to prevent those vessels from falling into German hands.

Several railroad-themed games were featured, including Railways of the World: Canada and Mexico, where the object is to successfully haul freight across North America from Churchill, Manitoba (Polar Bear Capital of the World) to Veracruz, Mexico, on the Gulf Coast.

Historically-themed games created by the Avalon Hill company were also popular. This is a big-board version of Kingmaker, set during the 15th-century War of the Roses in England, pitting the House of Lancaster against the House of York for control of the throne.

Josh Medin (left) and Doug Atkinson (right), both of Champaign, with the haul of Monroe St. Press books they purchased (thanks, guys!)

Other vendors attending Winter War included D 20 Stitchery, makers of dice/game piece bags in numerous colors, styles, patterns and themes.....

... and Elaine Oldham of Champaign, multi-talented creator of fantasy-themed art.

Individual game demonstrators and teams were on hand to guide participants in playing new games. Here the Asmodee Demo Team shows off Legendary Inventors, a card game in which players assemble teams of famous scientists and inventors (Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, etc.) in a contest of intelligence and innovation.

Finally, we have Academy Games' "Freedom: The Underground Railroad", in which players assume the roles of historical Abolitionists and work together to move slaves from Southern states to freedom in Canada. However, they must successfully elude slave catchers (symbolized by the colored pegs) to accomplish their goal.

We thank everyone who stopped by our vendor table during the weekend and we're already looking forward to returning for Winter War 45! For more information about this event check out its Facebook page.