Friday, December 20, 2013

"Who Was Fred White?" You Ask

THE CRIMSON BLIND.
By Fred M. White.
R. F. Fenno & Company.
1905. 378 pages.
Text available HERE and HERE.
According to Wikipedia, Frederick Merrick White (1859-1935) was a prolific author who sometimes produced science fiction, mysteries, and the occasional spy story:
[White] wrote a number of novels and short stories under the name "Fred M. White" including the six 'Doom of London' science-fiction stories, in which various catastrophes beset London. These include "The Four Days' Night" (1903), in which London is beset by a massive killer smog; "The Dust of Death" (1903), in which diphtheria infects the city, spreading from refuse tips and sewers; and "The Four White Days" (1903), in which a sudden and deep winter paralyses the city under snow and ice. These six stories all first appeared in 'Pearson's Magazine', and were illustrated by Warwick Goble.
He was also a pioneer of the spy story, and in 2003, his series 'The Romance of the Secret Service Fund' (written in 1899) was edited by Douglas G. Greene and published by Battered Silicon Dispatch Box.
As for THE CRIMSON BLIND:
Over a century after its first publication, 'The Crimson Blind' remains a rattling good story, as well as an interesting example of a transitional phase in mystery writing.
On the one hand, the backstory is unrepentantly mid-Victorian, with dreadful secrets, an aristocratic family estranged from each other, sundered lovers, savage dogs, a decayed country seat, forgeries, royal jewellery and a smiling hypocritical villain who aspires to become—gasp!—a Member of Parliament.
On the other hand, much of the story is set in that most prosaic of places, Brighton on the English south coast; the juvenile lead is a writer of detective stories rather than a missing heir, and—most surprising of all—the three female leads are all enterprising young ladies who take sensible and effective action to solve their predicament, rather than sitting around bemoaning their lot. — Jon, The GAD Wiki
A few other White texts that are available online:
- THE SLAVE OF SILENCE (1904)
- THE CARDINAL MOTH (1905)
- THE WEIGHT OF THE CROWN (1906)
- THE MIDNIGHT GUEST: A DETECTIVE STORY (1907)
- THE MYSTERY OF THE FOUR FINGERS (1908) [More HERE]

Resources:
- White's science fiction is at Project Gutenberg, Australia: The "Doom of London" Series.
- Project Gutenberg's online list - Project Gutenberg, Australia's much more extensive online list.

Categories: Detective fiction, Science fiction

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