Joseph Lewis French (1858-1936) was a prolific writer and anthologist known for his popular themed collections, such as Masterpieces of Mystery (1921, 4 vols.) and Great Pirate Stories (1922). French led an active literary life: early in his career he founded two magazines, The New West (circa 1887) and The Wave (circa 1890). He then went on to work for newspapers across the country and contribute articles and poetry to periodicals. However, despite publishing over twenty-five books between 1918 and his death in 1936, French struggled financially. Desperate for work in 1927, French was urged by the tabloid daily New York Graphic to write an article on his life's story, which the scandal sheet's editors titled "I'm Starving--Yet I'm in Who's Who as the Author of 27 Famous Books."
Masterpieces of Mystery: Riddle Storiesby Joseph Lewis French
"A distinguished American
Edited by Joseph Lewis French, this collection of 9 riddle stories includes "The Mysterious Card" and its sequel by Cleveland Moffett, "The Oblong Box" by Poe, "A Terribly Strange Bed" by Wilkie Collins, "The Lost Room" by Fitz-James O'Brien and others selected as masterful examples of the genre by the editor. He says in the forward:
"A distinguished American writer of fiction said to me lately: 'Did you ever think of the vital American way we live? We are always going after mental gymnastics.' Now the mystery story is mental gymnastics. ... The stories of this collection cover a wide range and are the choice of reading in several literatures."
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