Mar 092014
 
For me it's always interesting to see how very well known books were first marketed before they reached their legendary status. Take this book (advertised in the Feb 15, 1930 issue of The Saturday Review of Literature) now a permanent part of American pop culture, for example:

(Click to enlarge and read the fine print)
I think only the most diehard fan knows that Hammett was once an operative with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Sam Spade was also billed a "shyster detective" and a "Don Juan", apparently traits that Knopf thought would sell the book. I won't comment further on the last portion of Spade's description.
 Posted by at 3:50 pm
Feb 022014
 
Periodically I find myself stuck in the pages of magazines (there's a punny sentence for you!). Usually I'm perusing old reviews of forgotten and obscure murder mysteries and adventure novels. Every now and then along the sidebar margins I find an advertisement or two that catches my eye. This is how I learned of the existence of Aunt Beardie, a fantastic example of the historical mystery done well with a whopper of an ending.

Now that my collection of ephemera has been completely exhausted, and the usual Sunday feature "Left Inside" is a very rare occurrence (the last one was in the summer of 2013), I am substituting it with a new feature called "Found Bound". Every other Sunday I'll be posting ads, cartoons and other interesting tidbits I find in magazines of the past.

Today we look at an advertising gimmick created by the clever gang at Simon & Schuster, one of the oldest existing publishing houses in the United States. S&S was very innovative when marketing their mysteries. They invented Pocket Books in the late 1920s, the very first mass market paperback imprint in the United States. Additionally, they were one of the first publishers to create a hardcover imprint solely for detective fiction ("Inner Sanctum Mysteries") and were rather clever in getting their message out to their audience. Below are two ads found in two early 1940s issues of The Saturday Review done along the lines of a newsletter they called "The Gory Gazette."

I've read the Woolrich novel The Black Curtain (1941) advertised in the second set of illustrations and highly recommend it. I've not yet found a copy of Gypsy Rose Lee's second mystery novel Mother Finds a Body (1942), but I'm still looking. BTW -- Lee did in fact write her own books. They were not ghost written by Craig Rice no matter what numerous websites and reference books are trying to convince you otherwise.



Click to enlarge all scans in order to read the ads.



 Posted by at 5:58 pm
Jan 292014
 
Lilly Library (photo by "Vmenkov")
While researching Victor L. Whitechurch, whose books I am currently reading, I came across a fascinating post at the website for Indiana University's Lilly Library which has one of the most remarkable collections of detective and crime fiction in the United States. Back in 1973 the library celebrated the 130th anniversary of the publication of "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" with an exhibit entitled "The First Hundred Years of Detective Fiction, 1841-1941."

Among the books are some other ephemera including the drawing reproduced below.  I've long known of G. K. Chesterton's ability as a sketch artist and cartoonist but never knew that he was commissioned to illustrate an edition of Sherlock Holmes stories. Below is his rendering of the near fatal struggle on the cliffs of the Reichenbach Falls.



The note in the exhibit catalog accompanying this drawing says:
G. K. Chesterton was once commissioned to illustrate the Doyle stories (imagine Father Brown on Sherlock Holmes)! The volume was never published, but Lilly has his sketches, among them the Reichenbach scene, done in blue crayon.
The entire contents of the exhibit along with program notes are posted at the Lilly Library website here.  It's an excellent resource for any devotee of the history of detective fiction. I've already made note of three writers who until I read the catalog I had never heard of. Unfortunately, the exhibit's catalog notes for one of those writers ruined a book for me by revealing the ending.
 Posted by at 3:09 pm
Jun 232013
 
This was found inside one of the many copies of The Omnibus of Crime I have purchased over the years.  The Omnibus of Crime was the Book of the Month Club selection for August 1929. Inside the copy I bought was the ad seen below for the September BOMC selection, Ultima Thule by Henry Handel Richardson, a book and author I knew nothing about until I did my research for this post.



The Book of the Month Club was only three years old in 1929.  Weren't they polite in their requests? And that deadline date in giant red letters is very helpful.  I remember being a member of one of their offshoots, Quality Paperback Book Club, in the 1980s and the reminders were not anything like the one above. I usually lost the dumb postcard or forgot to mail it back by the deadline and ended up with books I had no desire to read let alone own.

"Henry Handel Richardson" turns out to be the pseudonym for Australian writer Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson who you can read about at the website for the Henry Handel Richardson Society.  (Is there a society for every forgotten author of the past?). Ultima Thule is the final novel in a trilogy about an Australian physician named Richard Mahony and is based in part of Richardson's own father and her upbringing. The three novels that make up the trilogy are Australia Felix (1917), The Way Home (1925) and Ultima Thule (1929). All three were later published in an omnibus edition and titled The Fortunes of Richard Mahony in 1930.  For a synopsis of Ultima Thule click here. Interestingly, it was only with the publication of the final volume that the entire trilogy, The Fortunes of Richard Mahony, was suddenly recognized as a great work of fiction.
 Posted by at 4:53 pm
Apr 112013
 
Last week I learned that I'm not the only one who thinks Dennis Wheatley deserves another life in print.  In an article published in the The Bookseller it was announced that Wheatley's first 20 titles will be released as ebooks in October 2013. The rights to 56 titles in Dennis Wheatley's long writing career have been purchased. So far only three of the more popular books -- The Devil Rides Out, The Forbidden Territory and To the Devil - A Daughter -- have been slated for paperback releases.

Hoping The Haunting of Toby Jugg will be one of those receiving a paperback edition. Get the Wheatley lowdown  here.

Thanks to Shotsmag for this news.
 Posted by at 12:51 pm
Mar 032013
 
I was going to bend the rules this week for "Left Inside" and include something Joe and I found in a parking lot while on our weekend vacation in San Jose/Santa Cruz and the surrounding redwood forest state parks.  But when I came home and discovered I had seven packages of books waiting for me to be opened that plan changed.

In the very last package was a beautiful copy of a very scarce book -- The Mystery at Stowe by Vernon Loder -- soon to be reviewed here. Check out the condition of the dust wrapper seen at right. It's nearly flawless! Only one crease on the spine and tiny chip on the rear panel (not pictured). When I flipped through the stunningly white unstained pages I found the assurance offer card -- or insurance as we call it in North America -- pictured below. One of the few times I've found something inside a book I purchased via the internet. And so direct from a Toronto bookseller and Vernon Loder's debut mystery novel comes today's legitimate "Left Inside" object.

That's only nine pennies a day, by the way. I don't think they use pennies as a form of currency in the U.K. anymore. I don't even know why d. is used as an abbreviation for pennies. But my curiosity had to be satisfied so I went a-Googling. Here is the arcane reason taken from a website on the history of British currency.
A penny was expressed as the letter 'd' - an abbreviation for denarius which was a silver Roman coin.
Who knew? Probably some astute numismatist.


It appears the previous owner may have taken advantage of the offer since the attached coupon is no longer attached and the perforated edge (not easily seen in the photo) proves the coupon was torn off.

When I flipped over the card I learned that advertisement was intended as a bookmark!  Also, the owner of this book -- or the owner of the card -- had a shared interest of mine. He or she was very interested in old crime fiction. The list revealed titles that were originally published long before 1936 when this reprint of Loder's book was reissued. With a little bit of verifying the titles, authors and dates of publication I learned something about the reading tastes of the previous owner.


I am sure that The Secret is not that new age rip-off of Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking that was all the rage about three or four years ago thanks mostly due to Oprah Winfrey's cultish book club. Instead, it is most likely a thriller by E. Phillips Oppenheim published in 1907 (known as The Great Secret in the US) but still available in reprint editions in the 1930s. The Secret Cargo (1913) is by the ridiculously prolific and inexplicably popular J. S. Fletcher, a writer whose work I find exceptionally formulaic and mediocre. The last title, after looking up possibilities in Hubin, turns out to be yet another Oppenheim book called The World's Great Snare (1896).

As for that third title: Sweet Life is not a crime novel nor thriller. The title does not appear in my most recent update of Hubin's Crime Fiction: A Comprehensive Bibliography.  I did however find Sweet Poison, Sweet Death, Sweet and Low, and of course Sweet Revenge, multiple times among many other sweet and deadly titles. Turns out the only book published between 1900 and 1936 with that title is by Kathlyn Rhodes. It was her debut novel according to some publicity by her publisher Hutchinson & Company:
Vivid descriptions of the entrancing scenery of the East, incident crowding upon incident, romantic situations, exciting intrigues, unexpected dénouements hold and absorb the interest from start to finish.

KATHLYN RHODES
is the assured success of 1918,
as GERTRUDE PAGE was the success of 1916
and MABEL BARNES-GRUNDY of 1917.


Fired with enthusiasm to win fame as a novelist, Kathlyn Rhodes began her career before her school days were ended. Sweet Life followed shortly afterwards; and the appreciation which this won encouraged the authoress to follow quickly with other stories. Choice of subject she holds to be of primary importance. With the war depressing us all around, she believes that many readers prefer stories that permit them for the time to forget it; and this she achieves by her delightful flights of fancy through the realms of many lands.
Interestingly, Rhodes is listed in Hubin as having written two crime novels in the 1930s and four other books with marginal crime content. I think, however, based on the title and the publicity above that Sweet Life is the only romance "Previous Owner" was looking forward to reading.
 Posted by at 5:11 pm
Feb 172013
 
Something a little different for this month's Jacket Required feature is the "Scarlet Thread" mystery imprint published by Robert M. McBride & Company from 1930 to 1931. The books did not have dust jackets per se, but rather what is called paste-on plates. In effect what would've been the DJ was attached directly to the book. Due to the nature of paste-on plates if they are not protected by a clear vinyl plastic the constant pulling on and off shelves and rubbing up against other books will eventually do its damage.  Most of the plates are heavily rubbed, chipped or damaged in other ways. I keep upgrading the Scarlet Thread books I manage to find hoping one day for the best collection of these unique mystery novels.




A few booksellers out there when they come across a title from this imprint think that the DJ was dismembered and glued to the book. Not true. If you ever come across a description like that in a bookseller catalog the price will likely be very cheap. The bookseller thinks the book was damaged and altered thus making it depreciate in value. Jump on that book and buy it immediately! The Scarlet Thread books are scarce in any condition and cheap prices are just as rare as the books themselves.

I have been trying for years to complete my collection and so far have acquired only five of the titles. There may be more, but I have only confirmed seven books in this imprint. Besides those pictured here I know of The Diary of Death by Wilson Collison and The Woman in Purple Pajamas by "Willis Kent", a pseudonym of Collison's.

In addition to the paste-on plates (one each on the front board, rear board and backstrip) there is the unique fore-edge decoration that give the imprint its name. Running down the outer edges of the pages is the illusion of an unspooling red thread. Over time the red color fades and begins to look more purple than red. In some instances the decoration has completely faded and can no longer be seen. Below is the best example of the decoration on the pages of my copy of Murder from the Grave.





Click on photos to enlarge. Enjoy!















 Posted by at 4:52 pm
Dec 022012
 
Yesterday, I wrote a review about Murder Yet To Come.  I mentioned in passing that the novel won a whopping $7500 prize in a mystery writing contest. If you have a copy of the CAPT 1995 reprint you will find this as part of their introduction to the book:


This will lead you to believe that Ellery Queen was beaten by Myers. Not true. Both writers won the contest - but only Myers won the $7500. Here's the lowdown.

New McClure's Magazine, the original sponsor, of the contest was a reformed, restructured version of the venerable McClure's magazine. Exactly why New McClure's thought they could sponsor an astonishing $7500 writing contest prize baffles me. The magazine was in dire financial straits after its reorganization from the old McClure's. The tail end of the disaster is described in this paragraph taken from a fascinating article I found about the demise of McClure's.
McClure's was never the same after the insurgent staff departed to continue their journalistic crusade elsewhere. To satisfy the terms of the purchase agreement negotiated by Phillips, McClure was forced to place his stock under the control of a board of trustees to whom he was held accountable. The cost of the new Long Island publishing facility, originally estimated at $105,000, increased three-fold, while McClure's Book Company, a subsidiary of the magazine, went heavily into debt. With the arrival of a depression in 1907, McClure's advertising revenues plummeted as manufacturers tightened their belts. From 1906 onward, the magazine never again declared stock dividends. $800,000 in debt, McClure was continuously at the mercy of a string of creditors, to whom the periodical was finally surrendered in the autumn of 1911. Under the management of financiers unsympathetic to muckraking, the magazine's journalistic crusades were squelched. In reality, however, McClure's was the victim of idealistic "explosions" begun more than five years earlier, when the high moral standards of a staff bent upon reforming society were shattered by the man who had created the medium for their expression.
Despite the fact the New McClure's was on shaky financial ground the contest continued with a co-sponsorship from book publisher Frederick A. Stokes. When the winner was declared it wasn't Isabel Briggs Myers. It was a novice writing duo calling themselves Ellery Queen and the novel was The Roman Hat Mystery. Before the prize was fully awarded New McClure's Magazine went bankrupt and folded in March 1929. The magazine was absorbed by Smart Set and they also took over the contest. The new magazine editors decided to re-judge the contest because the original rules stated that the winning manuscript would appear first in serial format in the magazine. Taking into account their mostly female readership they decided to choose a woman writer and awarded the full prize to Myers -- serial magazine rights for $5000, and $2500 for book publication.

Here is more background on the contest taken from Columbia Pictures Movie Series, 1926-1955: The Harry Cohn Years (McFarland, 2011) by Gene Blottner:


But the Queen writing duo had their revenge of sorts when Frederick A. Stokes stepped in and saved the day, so to speak, by publishing the winning book. And thanks to some clever work on the author's part The Roman Hat Mystery was released a full year before Murder Yet to Come.

My big clue that led me to digging up the real truth of the writing contest was the copyright info in my copy of Myer's book seen below. I knew something was up.


The clincher is that "Second printing before publication" statement.  This tells us that the publisher's marketing department did a superior job of selling the book. Due to the book's anticipated popularity there were a larger than anticipated number of pre-orders from bookstores and the publisher printed more copies of the book before the actual planned publication date and after the initial run of their first edition.  I am inferring here that it was Stokes' marketing of Murder Yet to Come as a prize-winning novel that led to the larger number of books being printed.

The people at CAPT have no business stating that Myers bested Queen. The contest was judged twice by two different magazine staffs. Essentially, the two authors both won. And while Myers got the money, Dannay and Lee as Ellery Queen got the fame.
 Posted by at 5:12 am
Oct 262012
 
The Female Detective by Andrew Forrester
foreword by Alexander McCall Smith
introduction by Mike Ashley
British Library   $15.00
ISBN:  9780712358781
(distributed in the US by University of Chicago Press)

The British Library who earlier this year gave us a handsomely designed facsimile reprint of The Notting Hill Mystery have matched their efforts with a second forgotten cornerstone in the history of detective fiction. An informative introductory essay by Mike Ashley traces the authorship of The Female Detective, credited to the pseudonym "Andrew Forrester," to James Redding Ware (1832 – c.1909) and puts this fascinating series of short stories and novellas into the context of the policeman's casebook style of fiction popular in the early 1860s that would later develop into stories and novels about consulting and amateur detectives. Ware's stories dare to cast in the lead role a woman undercover police officer (yes, such a person existed in the mid 19th century) who shows she is made of tougher and smarter stuff than the buffoons and doltish coppers she encounters in her line of work.

Not all of the stories feature the anonymous G___ , who often goes by the nom de guerre Miss Gladden. She at times steps aside to relate a second hand account of a mystery solved by the physician Y___, one of her colleagues in crime fighting, or Hardal "the most eccentric barrister who ever donned a stuff gown and a wig" who resembles in many ways the kind of genius consulting detectives that would soon flood the pages of The Strand in the tales of Conan Doyle, L.T. Mead, Arthur Morrison and others. When she is on her own, however, in the longest of the two stories Ware's skills as a detective story writer as at their best. Who knew that as early as 1864 there were fictional writers detailing 19th century scientific investigative techniques that would foreshadow the high tech forensic police work that has become standard in any work of crime fiction? Miss Gladden (as I will refer to our anonymous lead) not only makes use of her wily feminine interviewing talents, but is well versed in such varied fields as anatomy, criminal psychology, and Victorian law all of which she makes use of in ferreting out the culprits and their unusual reasons for committing their crimes.

"Tenant for Life" is the first story -- really closer to a novella at more than 90 pages -- in the volume.  A chance remark from a cabman and his wife leads Miss Gladden to the family at Shirley House.  They may have gone to great lengths to preserve an inherited fortune. But was the stunt involving the switching of children really entirely criminal? Catherine Shedleigh and her brother turn out to be good and decent people though they have perpetuated what amounts to legal fraud in the eyes of the law and Miss Gladden. She is torn between feeling sympathy for the brother and sister and doing her duty as a policewoman. In fact, doing one's duty is at the heart of this particular story. Miss Gladden is constantly referring to the necessity of the detective in society. She believes they exist to bring about justice. This need for justice guides Miss Gladden first and foremost and leads her to inform on the Shedleighs despite their decency and goodness to which she is greatly attracted. Only later when the truth behind the Shedleighs' fraud is revealed will she subvert the law in order to protect them and punish someone else she sees to be more guilty, both legally and morally.

In "The Unraveled Mystery" we see a more scientific approach to crime solving. Miss Gladden recounts a past crime involving a dismembered body left in a carpet bag beneath a bridge. It turns out to be Miss Gladden's cold case having left the police baffled who filed it as unsolved. She displays a virtuoso performance in tandem with her physician cohort Y___.  Together the two combine their talents and devise an entirely plausible solution to how and why the crime was done, what specific weapon was used, who the victim was, and most astonishing of all where he most likely lived.  She derides the routine police methods that often trap and hinder genuine police work. The point driven home in this exercise of detection is "that more intellect should be infused into the operation of the police system." She would rather have imaginative thinkers on the police force than the brutish, nearly illiterate dullards she almost always must deal with.

Less a tale of detection than a morality lesson is "The Judgment of Conscience." Here is another example of Miss Gladden's observations of how crime is done for "noble" reason as as was first hinted at in "Tenant for Life." In this tale a man intent on murder confesses to a crime committed by another and nearly ends up hanged for it. Miss Gladden's insistence that ballistics evidence be examined saves him from the executioner's rope.

There is also "A Child Found Dead - Murder or No Murder?" inspired by the Road Hill Tragedy better known to students of true crime history as the Constance Kent case.  An imaginative but unconvincing argument for a sleepwalking killer being responsible is presented in a second hand account. The solution is founded upon Victorian law and the legal definition of murder. Hardal, the detective in the story is also a lawyer, and he is more concerned with fitting the circumstances of the crime to the legal reasons that constitute murder. Too rigid regarding legalities Hardal dismisses or overlooks the complex human emotions at the root of the murder of the boy which turned out to be a sort of juvenile version of a crime of passion as we know now.

The best story in the volume -- one that had been previously collected in an anthology of Victorian detective novels by E.F. Bleiler for Dover Books -- is "The Unknown Weapon."  Closer to a short novel (it runs to just under 100 pages) it is a rich and fascinating story of the mysterious murder of a squire's son told from the point of the discovery of the body to the involved coroner's inquest and ending in Miss Gladden's personal investigation and solution of the crime.

In this tale more than any other we get Ware's satiric side and his sense of humor. There is a parade of gossipy country servants, a nervous Nellie of a maid who can barely speak the language and is prone to "conniption fits", and one of the stupidest police officers in all of Victorian fiction. An abundant use of country and lower class dialects is on display in the numerous interrogation scenes Miss Gladden conducts; her interpretative skills are taxed to their limit. Numerous parenthetical translations of the simplest words -- Yoa is yes, Whoa is what, for example -- are peppered throughout the story in a wry manner.

The Female Detective is a very welcome addition to the ever continuing evolution of the detective novel as we know it.  As more and more of these early texts are uncovered it is becoming clear to me that some of the most modern works of crime fiction came to us from overlooked writers in the earliest part of the 19th century. Ware's book proves that it can hold its own against modern technical forensic thrillers, psychological suspense, and the intense legal and police procedurals that make up the bulk of contemporary crime fiction. In many cases the subtleties of the characters' motives and the uncharacteristic and surprising vagaries of criminal behavior explored at the hands of a woman detective in the Victorian era are much more interesting to me than similar themes that have practically become commonplace in contemporary crime fiction.
 Posted by at 2:29 pm
Oct 122012
 
Odhams Press (1933), True 1st edition
Agatha Christie shows a completely different side of her writing talents in a little discussed collection of short stories called The Hound of Death (1933). Perhaps the reason The Hound of Death is so little known and never saw multiple reprints was due to the simple fact that it is not a collection of crime stories, but mostly tales of supernatural and fantasy. Can Agatha chill the bone as well as she does with bamboozling the mind in her well known whodunits? I think she does very well in some instances.

The book had an unusual publishing history in that it was originally offered with a handful of other books (including The Venner Crime by John Rhode) by independent publisher Odhams Press as part of a subscription series. The books were available only by purchase using coupons (plus seven shillings) that were collected from their magazine The Passing Show as a promotion for the revival of that journal. The book was later reissued by Collins Crime Club in 1936. The stories from The Hound of Death appear in three separate collections in the US. The bulk of them are split between The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories and The Golden Ball and Other Stories. One single story, "The Last Séance", appears in Double Sin and Other Stories. All three story collections are currently in print -- as are all of Christie's books -- in trade paperback and eBook editions from William Morrow in the US.

My intuition told me that many of the stories in The Hound of Death were written in her very early career. Further research proved my assumptions to be correct. Though the book was published in 1933 all of the stories were written much earlier with about half of them having first appeared in magazines throughout the 1920s. The earliest (and, in my opinion, one of the most effective) is "The Call of Wings." Written prior to World War I it shows a novice writer's love of symbolism, allegory and ironic endings. It's her most original story of a supernatural type in the entire book, perhaps her entire career.

Silas Hamer is typical of Christie's protagonists in these supernatural shorts.  He proclaims, "I don't believe in anything I can't see, hear and touch."  This is usually a sign that the character will encounter some life altering event that will challenge his rigid world view. And no sooner has Silas uttered those words then he meets up with a mysterious legless cripple playing enchanting music on  "a strange instrument whose notes were much higher and clearer than those of a flute."  The music is bewitching, transcendent and literally uplifting.  Silas finds himself floating and hovering above the ground.  It terrifies him and he finds himself clutching at a stone buttress in a nearby wall to keep himself from flying away. Later he attempts to explain what happens to him each time he hears the haunting melody:

"--the music carries me there--not direct, but a succession of waves, each reaching higher than the last, until the highest point where one can go no further. I stay there until I'm dragged back. It isn't a place, it's more a state. [...] [T]here were sensations of light..then of sound...then of colour...All very vague and unformulated. It was more the knowledge of things than seeing or hearing them."
"The Call of Wings" reminded me of a weird short story by Lovecraft -- "The Music of Erich Zann." Like Lovecraft and Manly Wade Wellman Christie's supernatural tales find her characters drawn to mysterious forces in the past, ancient unknown powers that somehow find their way into the hands of men and women of the 1920s.  In "The Gipsy" we find Mrs. Haworth who has a gift of psychic powers and the ability to recognize those powers in others.  Sister Marie Angelique, the nun thought to be mad in "The Hound of Death," somehow manages to harness an ancient power and summon a spectral being of horrible force to help defeat an attack on her convent by German soldiers. Even the sinister "half English/half Oriental" Lady Carmichael consults an old book among the dusty tomes in her husband's library to bring about the wicked transformation of her stepson. Occasionally, subtle allusions are made that intimate ancient creatures are present. It is hinted that the legless cripple in "The Call of Wings" is an incarnation of Pan who, tired of his goat legs, amputated them himself.

I found several influences and signs that Christie perhaps was familiar with the work of Algernon Blackwood, William Hope Hodgson and perhaps even Margery Lawrence. She follows a formula for many of these stories that those three writers all share in their treatment of the occult detective tale. A narrator listens to a story of an other worldly encounter from a friend. The narrator then does some investigative work to learn the truth behind the seemingly implausible or impossible events his friend related. In many instances during the course of that investigation the narrator also experiences some sort of supernatural event that explains the mysterious events. This is the formula used in nearly all of the stories. In one story –"The Strange Case of Sir Arthur Carmichael" – the model of a John Silence or Dr. Miles Pennoyer tale is imitated in full. Dr. Carstairs, a psychiatrist who could easily have become a series character, travels to Arthur Carmichael's estate in the hopes of treating the man's mental disturbance but instead winds up investigating a haunting and encounters genuine supernatural events that are at the root of Carmichael's personality transformation.

Psychic ability and mediums, however, are Christie's favorite other-worldly topic to explore. We find them in one form or another in "The Red Signal", "S.O.S", and "The Gipsy." Ghosts and haunted houses are the runner-up and occur in "The Lamp", "Wireless" (retitled "Where There's A Will" in the US editions), and "The Mystery of the Blue Jar."  Oddly enough I found her ghost stories to be the weakest of the lot, especially "The Lamp" a slight and simple tale of a lonely child ghost with the most predictable outcome of the lot. She works best when she is writing a crime tale that adds a tinge of the supernatural as in "Accident" or "The Red Signal," a nicely done story that shows a talent for the type of misdirection she will come to master in her later novels.

The Hound of Death and Other Stories
"The Hound of Death"
"The Red Signal"
"The Fourth Man"
"The Gypsy"
"The Lamp"
"Wireless"
"The Witness for the Prosecution"
"The Mystery of the Blue Jar"
"The Strange Case of Sir Arthur Carmichael"
"The Call of Wings"
"The Last Seance"
"S.O.S."
 Posted by at 11:33 am

Switch to our mobile site