I don’t remember which book that I read first, Of Mice and Men or The Grapes of Wrath, but both had a lasting effect on me and made me a John Steinbeck fan. Over the years, I think that I’ve read every novel and short story that the Nobel Prize-winning author wrote. So, I was quite surprised to read a story this week about the discovery of an unpublished horror novel by Steinbeck.
The book has been “hidden” at the University of Texas in Austin’s Harry Ransom Center, which specialized in archiving literary ephemera, especially from Nobel laureates. According to the Guardian, the book is “Set in a fictional Californian coastal town, Murder at Full Moon tells the story of a community gripped by fear after a series of gruesome murders takes place under a full moon… Investigators fear that a supernatural monster has emerged from the nearby marshes. Its characters include a cub reporter, a mysterious man who runs a local gun club and an eccentric amateur sleuth who sets out to solve the crime using techniques based on his obsession with pulp detective fiction.”
The Steinbeck estate has emphatically stated its lack of interest in its posthumous publication. Personally, I think that millions of readers who were introduced to Steinbeck through his powerful stories and moving characters in high school English classes would jump at the chance to read the horror story. Maybe Hollywood will option the book for a film ? How about a 40s style black and white thriller with 21st century special effects ?