Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck is best known for The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, but in 1930 he wrote a horror novel under a pen name. He was unsuccessful in his attempts to find a publisher for Murder at Full Moon and shelved it. Today the 233-page typescript site in the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin. Steinbeck's estate has rejected offers to publish it, despite the urgings of Steinbeck scholars to do so.
From The Guardian:
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.
"It's certainly not Steinbeck the realist, but it is Steinbeck the naturalist, interested in human nature," [says Professor Gavin Jones, a specialist in American literature at Stanford University]. It's a horror potboiler, which is why I think readers would find it more interesting than a more typical Steinbeck. It's a whole new Steinbeck – one that predicts Californian noir detective fiction. It is an unsettling story whose atmosphere is one of fog-bound, malicious, malignant secrecy."
[image by Sonya Noskowiak – Center for Creative Photography, CC BY 2.5, Modified. via Sensible Endowment.]