The Dead Witness: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Detective Stories

The Dead Witness: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Detective Stories

by Michael Sims

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802779625
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 12/20/2011
Series: The Connoisseur's Collections
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 608
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Michael Sims is the author of the acclaimed Apollo's Fire: A Day on Earth in Nature and Imagination, Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form, and The Story of Charlotte's Web, and is the editor of the recent collections The Penguin Book of Gaslight Crime and Dracula's Guest: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories. He lives in western Pennsylvania.
Michael Sims's six acclaimed non-fiction books include The Adventures of Henry Thoreau, The Story of Charlotte's Web, and Adam's Navel, and he edits the Connoisseur's Collection anthology series, which includes Dracula's Guest, The Dead Witness, The Phantom Coach, and the forthcoming Frankenstein Dreams. His writing has appeared in New Statesman, New York Times, Washington Post, and many other periodicals. He appears often on NPR, BBC, and other networks. He lives in Pennsylvania.

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The Dead Witness: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Detective Stories 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Adele_Ruiz More than 1 year ago
This collection of mysteries is a rare treat. While some of the authors are known to mystery lovers (Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe), others are not, including a strong showing by women authors. The detectives showcased here are clever, intriguing, and have engaging personalities. While the stories are a fun read, the best part is the introduction of each story by Michael Sims. He gives each story context and points out the influence of the author on future writers. This is a fun read and I'll be rereading it again soon.
jasonpettus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)This fascinating new anthology, by an academe who has made a career out of putting together such anthologies, is a lively and unexpected guide to the early history of the detective story, whose invention is largely credited to Edgar Allen Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and which really flowered into mainstream success during the Victorian Age of the 1830s to 1900s. And indeed, by placing his only Sherlock Holmes story right in the middle of this massive book, editor Michael Sims is clearly showing just how much precedence there was leading up to what eventually became the most famous character in this genre's history; because with the very idea of a city police department not even invented in the real world until the early 1800s, many of the first stories about solving crimes came about in a roundabout way, whether through "Newgate" novels that salaciously glorified the criminals or "Sensation" novels that combined noir-like plots with Gothic moodiness and supernaturalism. And there's lots more surprises awaiting the eager Victoriana fan who picks this up, not an "all-star" compilation but with stories picked precisely because of their uniqueness and obscurity; for example, how many female writers found real success in this genre back then, or how much great crime fiction came from other areas of the Empire like Canada and Australia. And in the meanwhile, Sims throws in a few nonfiction tidbits to help us maintain a sense of society in general back then; of particular interest, for example, is a full reprint of the first long newspaper article to come out about the first Jack The Ripper slaying. A huge collection that kept an armchair historian like me flipping pages quickly, it comes strongly recommended to other Baker Street Irregulars, and the only reason it's not getting a higher score is the unavoidable fact that you won't like it at all if you're not already a fan of Victorian genre fiction.Out of 10: 8.9
JBD1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A well-curated collection of short stories, excerpts, and even a bit of non-fiction (in the form of newspaper articles and an inquest transcript from one of the Jack the Ripper murders), Michael Sims' The Dead Witness: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Detective Stories (Walker & Co., 2012) is a thoroughly enjoyable volume.Some of the selections here will be familiar to many: Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and selections from A Study in Scarlet most specifically. But many of the other stories Sims includes may introduce the reader to new authors and characters, like Hesketh Pritchard's Canadian detective November Joe or Robert Barr's delightful Eugène Valmont. I also enjoyed Bret Harte's amusing parody starring Hemlock Jones, "The Stolen Cigar-Case."Sims' good general introduction is buttressed by shorter introductory notes to each individual selection, providing a bit of background about the authors and their work. It must have been no easy task to select the pieces for inclusion; I don't envy Sims the job, but he's done it well.
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