Monday, March 24, 2014

Crimes and Hallucinations

By Eden Phillpotts (1862-1960).
1926. [?] pages. $2.50
Collection: 15 stories.
1. "Peacock House"
2. "The King of Kanga"
3. "Count Rollo"
4. "Red Dragon"
5. "Crazywell"
6. "The Iron Pineapple" [online HERE]
7. "Grey Lady Drive"
8. "Three Dead Men"
9. "Madonna of the Fireflies"
10. "My First Murder"
11. "The Astral Lady"
12. "Yellow Peril"
13. "The Cairn"
14. "Stepan Trofimitch"
15. "The Mother of the Violets"
Mr. Phillpotts is hampered yet humanised by his desire to let his characters work out their own destiny; their personalities frequently escape from the plot which enmeshes them. — L. P. Hartley
Excerpts from several contemporary reviews:
Mr. Phillpotts's main concern is Mystery. He taps almost every source of the mysterious, going for his effects as far afield as studies in neurosis and psycho-analysis.
. . . How protean is Mr. Phillpotts! . . . Though he gets a thrill into his tales of horror, none of them is, judged by the standard of his achievement in other fields, quite first-rate; his quality shows better in the piece than in the pattern. He lacks the concentration and finesse of the best short-story writers, and that medium only partially reveals his chief strength—his point of view. No contemporary writer, expecting so little of human beings, seems to get so much out of them, or to render with so much sureness of touch the long, slow cadences of life. — L. P. Hartley, "A Quartet," THE BOOKMAN [U.K.] (October 1926; Jump To page 52)
Fifteen shortish bafflers of superior grade containing mental quirks, crimes galore, and—an iron pineapple. — "The Bookman's Guide to Fiction," THE BOOKMAN (June 1927; scroll to page 464, top left)
Tales of horror and mystery may be so hauntingly inexplicable as to leave the reader speculating and shuddering long after the book has been laid aside. Or, like the common detective story, they may be builded with mathematical neatness to reveal in a surprising conclusion the simple explanation for all the unsolved enigmas that have gone before. The short stories in "Peacock House" belong, with one or two exceptions, to the second category. . . . For the most part, the people involved are too dull to stimulate much interest in their crimes or hallucinations, and somehow even the most fiendish of their murders seems more inky than bloody. — "The New Books," THE SATURDAY REVIEW (June 25, 1927)
- The GAD Wiki file for Eden Phillpotts is HERE.

Category: Detective fiction

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