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Detection by Gaslight: 14 Victorian Detective Stories (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – July 10, 1997
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Other writers and stories:
Robert W. Chambers -- The Purple Emperor
R. Austin Freeman -- The Dead Hand
Jacques Futrelle -- The Tragedy of the Life Raft
E. and H. Heron -- The Story of Baelbrow
Headon Hill -- The Divinization of the Zagury Capsules
Silas K. Hocking -- A Perverted Genius
L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace -- Mr. Bovey's Unexpected Will
Arthur Morrison -- The Case of the Lost Foreigner
Baroness Orczy -- The York Mystery
Catherine L. Pirkis -- The Ghost of Fountain Lane
George R. Sims -- The Haverstock Hill Murder
The book also contains a two-page introduction by mystery authority Douglas G. Greene, as well as interesting under-one-page biographical notes about each author.
Recommended as a nice mind-trip to Victorian times for mystery readers, for a more-than-reasonable price.
There were of course, stories by Doyle, Orczy and Chesterton to represent the more traditional favorites--Chesterton's "The Eye of Apollo" is especially excellent. Several of the other stories were surprisingly deep and well-written, though there were also a few truly dreadfully written stories, that were quite popular in their day, and reading them was fun in a different way. (I'll not give my opinion as to which stories were which, so as not to influence other readers.)
Overall, this is an excellent set of Victorian stories, giving a wide range of styles and tastes, with a short biography of the author at the start of the story. For anyone who enjoys Victorian lit, these stories (especially the lesser known gems among them) will make a wonderful read.
The editor was interested in showing the amazing variety of investigators that arose in the wake of Sherlock Holmes. We meet with lady detectives, clergymen sleuths, scientific investigators, detectives both brave and cowardly - and even an agent who employs a Hindu snake charmer to see into mysteries.
There are fourteen stories, and I liked every one very much, with two exceptions (but what editor can please everyone?). The creators of famous detectives like Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown and The Thinking Machine are in company with authors long since forgotten. And the mix is very successful.
The stories illustrate the incredibly fertile imaginations of Victorian and Edwardian mystery writers. A lecture on sea worms leads to the apprehension of a murderer. A fly fisherman solves a crime among butterfly collectors. A house ghost who has behaved well for centuries suddenly turns violent.
Fans of vintage detection can pick up some fascinating facts, such as who invented the inverted detective story and who first filled the void when Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Holmes. And those who take pleasure in historic atmosphere will find plenty of it here.
Detection by Gaslight is a fun introduction to Victorian mystery writing - but also a welcome supplement for those who have read widely in the period.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great anthology book - many different authors. All classics!! I recommend it.Published 1 month ago by m-lee
Lots of good stories in here and wide variety of themes and styles for being about a very specific time, place and genre. Read morePublished on May 19, 2013 by Katy Stauber