The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes: The Greatest Detective Stories 1837–1914

Edited by Graeme Davis. Pegasus Crime, $25.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-64313-071-2
Davis (More Deadly Than the Male, editor) makes a welcome addition to early English detective fiction anthologies. Unlike scholars who date the birth of the genre to Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” Davis starts with an earlier short story, “The Secret Cell” by Poe’s nemesis, William Evans Burton. That tale remains enjoyable today, with its dramatic account of the search for a missing 17-year-old servant, who stood to inherit a fortune from her employer. Other solid entries will also be new to many, such as an excerpt from the pseudonymous Charles Felix’s The Notting Hill Mystery, an epistolary novel about a woman who supposedly drank a fatal dose of acid while sleepwalking. Davis’s decision to excerpt novels doesn’t always work: The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Phantom of the Opera creator Gaston Leroux doesn’t deserve to be spoiled by a section from its denouement. Nonetheless, this quality compilation belongs on the shelf with such volumes as In the Shadow of Agatha Christie: Classic Crime Fiction by Forgotten Female Authors, 1850–1917. (June)
Reviewed on : 04/02/2019
Release date: 06/04/2019
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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