The first volume in a complete collection of stories featuring Quinn’s impish French occult detective Jules de Grandin (first published in Weird Tales in the 1920s) is a fun, spooky trip back to the golden age of weird. Each story is narrated by de Grandin’s bemused and long-suffering friend Dr. Samuel Trowbridge, and most include de Grandin’s concluding explanation of the how and why of the events. Each story has its merits, but standouts include the shudder-worthy “The Isle of Missing Ships,” in which de Grandin and Trowbridge’s ship is overtaken by pirates; they end up stranded on an island where a strange man dwells in a lavish underwater cave and “long pork” is on the menu. “The Great God Pan” sees de Grandin and Trowbridge among a bevy of beauties in thrall to a strange guru. In other stories, the duo face werewolves, disembodied hands, and an evil scientist who keeps horrifying “pets” in his cellar. Seabury had a keen imagination and gift for atmosphere, and, even though modern readers may flinch a bit at some of the dated viewpoints and tropes, they’re likely to still have a grand time. De Grandin, “his little blond mustache twitching like the whiskers of an excited cat,” is an exuberant, delightful creation. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/06/2017 Release date: 04/01/2017 Genre: Fiction
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