Victorian Tales of Mystery and Detection

Overview


The Victorian era saw the first great flowering of the detective story. Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, J.S. LeFanu, and a host of others pioneered a genre of fiction that remains among the most popular today. Now, in Victorian Tales of Mystery and Detection, Michael Cox provides a sampling of the finest detective stories written from the 1840s to the early twentieth century.
Here readers will find a vast array of detectives and villains, ...
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Overview


The Victorian era saw the first great flowering of the detective story. Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, J.S. LeFanu, and a host of others pioneered a genre of fiction that remains among the most popular today. Now, in Victorian Tales of Mystery and Detection, Michael Cox provides a sampling of the finest detective stories written from the 1840s to the early twentieth century.
Here readers will find a vast array of detectives and villains, and a multitude of murder methods and motives. In Edgar Allen Poe's "The Purloined Letter," the identity of the robber is known from the start--it is the surreptitious retrieval of the letter that is the mystery. In M. McDonnell Bodkin's "Murder By Proxy," a gentleman is shot in the head at close range, by a murderer who was not even in the same room. Charles Dickens's "Hunted Down" portrays a murderer who was slowly poisoning his very own nieces for their insurance money. And in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Lost Special," a train and its passengers vanish in thin air. In addition, Cox (who is rapidly becoming one of the foremost experts on Victorian popular fiction) arranges the stories in chronological order so that readers can follow the genre as it develops over time. For instance, in Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" we see an example of the many Sherlock Holmes escapades that popularized and came to typify the detective story for the Victorian public. And in the progression of the stories, we witness the evolution of the investigator from Poe's brilliant and eccentric Chevalier C. August Dupin, to Doyle's scientific Sherlock Holmes, into Robert Barr's cavalier Valmont (a possible model for Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot).
Including well-known stories by famous authors, as well as little known gems reprinted for the first time, Victorian Tales of Mystery and Detection not only offers hours of enjoyment and escape for all lovers of crime fiction, but also brings alive the society, language, the sights, and sounds of the Victorian age.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The editor of Victorian Ghost Stories returns with an inviting collection of 31 stories by 30 writers (two stories are by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) that provides an enthralling overview of the mystery/detective tale from 1845 to 1904. In an incisive introduction, Cox engagingly sketches the historical background. The volume proper opens, appropriately enough, with Edgar Allan Poe's seminal ``The Purloined Letter,'' and proceeds chronologically. In E. and H. Heron's ``The Story of the Spaniards, Hammersmith,'' the typical dark and stormy night precedes mysterious tapping in an ``intensely English house'' where paranormal detective Flaxman Low uncovers gruesome details. In Conan Doyle's ``The Lost Special,'' in contrast, a bright June day does not deter cunning Herbert de Lernac from committing the ``inexplicable crime of the century.'' In ``The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle,'' Sherlock Holmes links a lost hat, a Christmas goose and a hotel jewel robbery during the ``season of forgiveness.'' Gambling habits prove ruinous in J. S. Le Fanu's exemplary double-locked-room mystery ``The Murdered Cousin''; Wilkie Collins's ``Who Killed Zebedee?'' tells of love and obsession in a rooming house. Other stories address blackmail, embezzlement and kleptomania, showcasing the splendid diversity of the Victorian mystery. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780192123084
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/29/1992
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 608
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.81 (h) x 1.63 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Editor:
Michael Cox is coeditor of The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories and Victorian Ghost Stories with R.A. Gilbert.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
The Purloined Letter 1845 1
The Murdered Cousin 1851 18
Hunted Down 1859 48
Levison's Victim 1870 69
The Mystery at Number Seven 1877 84
The Going Out of Alessandro Pozzone 1878 124
Who Killed Zebedee? 1881 141
A Circumstantial Puzzle 1889 161
The Mystery of Essex Stairs 1891 186
The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle 1892 195
The Great Ruby Robbery 1892 214
The Sapient Monkey 1892 233
Cheating the Gallows 1893 241
Drawn Daggers 1893 254
The Greenstone God and the Stockbroker 1894 274
The Arrest of Captain Vandaleur 1894 289
The Accusing Shadow 1894 303
The Ivy Cottage Mystery 1895 342
The Azteck Opal 1895 365
The Long Arm 1895 377
The Case of Euphemia Raphash 1895 406
The Tin Box 1896 420
Murder by Proxy 1897 437
The Duchess of Wiltshire's Diamonds 1897 457
The Story of The Spaniards, Hammersmith 1898 480
The Lost Special 1898 493
The Banknote Forger 1898 508
A Warning in Red 1899 518
The Fenchurch Street Mystery 1901 528
The Green Spider 1904 543
The Clue of the Silver Spoons 1904 555
Sources 573
Select Bibliography 576
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