101 YEARS'ENTERTAINMENT the Great Detective Stories,1841-1941 Hardcover – January 1, 1945
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With examples from each period along with mini-biographies of the authors and the place of each in literary history, there's also a 12-page introduction filled with history of the detective story which is a delight, as it breaks the detective story into categories and then explains each type. featured are some easily recognizable ones from Poe, GK Chesterton, Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr, and of course, Ellery Queen, other lesser but no less talented authors such as Jacques Futrelle, HC Bailey, and AEW Mason are showcased. Both Male and Female detectives are represented though the distaff side are fewer and segregated from their counterparts. (Hm.)
Like their creators, some of the detectives are immediately recognizable, and some not. Hercule Poirot is present as is Sam Spade, also Florian Slappey and The Infallible Godahl.
This is a great book for the mystery buff as well as the literary historian. I'm double thrilled with it because my copy is signed by the author(s)! If only there was one covering the second one hundred and one years (or at least to the turn of the new century.)
This anthology is owned by the reviewer and no remuneration was involved in the writing of this review.
The stories are divided into 6 categories:
…..The Great Detectives – 28 stories
…..The Great Women Detectives – 3 stories
…..The Great Humorous Detective Stories – 3 stories
…..The Great Thieves – 5 stories
…..The Great Crime Stories – 10 stories
…..The Detective Story to End Detective Stories – 1 story
Each story has a paragraph introducing it, written by the editor(s), Ellery Queen. These introductions are frequently humorous or interesting in themselves. How about the intro to “The Secret Garden” by G. K. Chesterson: “E.M. Wong thought Dr. Thorndyke ‘the greatest detective now in business.’ We think Father Brown is. Practically nobody agrees with us, but this is our story and we’ll stick to it.”
Some of the stories included have been anthologized to death – “The Purloined Letter”, for example. But, to be fair, they may not have been anthologized that much before 1946. Several stories contained here have probably never been anthologized before or since. A couple had a writing style that didn’t appeal to me. A few were great. Most were in between. That is perhaps to be expected. Mysteries written by Ellery Queen have impressed me as unappealing, great and in-between in the same proportions as the mysteries Ellery Queen selected for this anthology.
I enjoyed the "101 Years" anthology, though not as much as other anthologies. It does, however, have the story "The Two Bottles of Relish" (1920's), which was also included in "The Black Lizard" anthology mentioned below. That story has one of the best last lines ever.
I searched for “101 Years Entertainment” when it was mentioned in a 2014 anthology which I just finished – and immensely enjoyed:
The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original)