Friday, January 30, 2015

Sherlockian Miscellania

"Sherlock Holmes Among the Illustrators."
By Edmund Pearson (1880-1937).
First appeared in The Bookman (August 1932), pages 354-359.
With 7 illustrations.
Online HERE.

Sherlock was destined to become a legend in his own time, so to speak; so how does one depict a legend? Edmund Pearson looked into what could be called "A Case of Diversity" when it came to how artists chose to illustrate the Holmes stories, finding that the Great Detective's initial appearance (in A Study in Scarlet, 1887) was accompanied by artwork by D. H. Friston, whose "first picture of Holmes would distress the devotees":
. . . Friston's Sherlock is neither handsome nor intellectual; he wears undertaker's side-whiskers, an ulster with a cape, and a hat like nothing on sea or land—a sort of bastard child of a bowler out of a sombrero. With a magnifying glass as big as a sunflower, he is examining the word RACHE written in blood upon the wall. About him, in grotesque attitudes, stand Watson—with a walrus's moustache—and the Scotland Yarders, Gregson and Lestrade. Mr. Friston seems to have thought that the scene was macabre, and that the characters should look like gargoyles.  . . .
Other tidbits:
There is an impression that Mr. William Gillette, in his play, first put Holmes in a deer-stalker's cap with visors fore and aft. In one of the early Strand stories, however, The Boscombe Valley Mystery, Dr. Doyle says that Holmes wore a "close-fitting cloth cap", and [Sidney] Paget shows him with a fore-and-after. . . .
American editors, in 1893, began to be interested in Holmes, and the second series, the Memoirs, ran in Harper's Weekly, in addition to their English publication in the Strand. The American artist, Mr. W. H. Hyde, adorned the stories in Harper's with some striking pictures, but preferred to draw the actors in the criminal events rather than Holmes and Watson. The detective seldom appears, and when he does he is Mr. Hyde's own conception.  . . .
[When Holmes returned from the grave in 1903] . . . On both sides of the ocean he reappeared in the series called The Return of Sherlock Holmes, and in America, in Collier's Weekly, with the most interesting decorations of all time. Old Sherlockians will always be fond of the Paget drawings, but they must admit that the pictures made for this new series, by Frederic Dorr Steele, were not only satisfactory as portraits, but extremely attractive in detail.  . . . [In addition] Mr. Steele was the first illustrator to suggest that Dr. Watson was a simple Simon . . . .
"The Holmes Legend."
Appeared in The Bookman (January 1933), pages 58-59.
Online HERE.

This one relates to one author's opinion about a vexed question that has long circulated among Sherlockians:
Was the Christian name of Dr. Watson ever revealed?
"Sherlock Holmes: Addendum."
Appeared in The Bookman (March 1933), pages 264-265.
Online HERE.

"Here," we're told, "are new questions for the faithful" about "the most beloved character in fiction since Pickwick": How to account for Holmes's remarkable mimicry of Dupin. Or Watson's being wounded "in but one place, and yet in two parts of his body." Or Holmes's confusion of shall and will, "the one grammatical error that no genuine Londoner ever makes" and which are "precisely the errors we might expect if Holmes had been a native of Northern Ireland." Or how Holmes, a university man, could "be so completely taken in by what is obviously an undergraduate hoax" in "The Adventure of the Three Students."

Category: Detective fiction (Sherlockian scholarship)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

"The Writing Is Better Than Hemingway, Since It Conceals not Softness but Hardness"

"Ex-Detective Hammett."
By Elizabeth Sanderson.
Appeared in The Bookman, January 1932.
Online HERE.
A brief interview with a hard-boiled detective writer at the apex of his career. A few excerpts:
. . . If hardness consists of writing about criminals as though they were human, of looking on detectives with an unbiased eye and setting them down as less than paragons of shrewdness and integrity, of admitting corruption, human frailty and occasional pleasant qualities in both his man-hunters and their quarry, Dashiell Hammett's hardness is the main reason for his success.  . . .
. . . He is, in addition, a master of terse, abrupt prose, and he can tell more in one sentence of it than many an earlier mystery novel writer managed to convey in a chapter.  . . .
. . . A detective is not actually a romantic figure, and few thieves or murderers are ever pure "criminal types." So Dashiell Hammett left the Philo Vances to Mr. Van Dine and wrote of what he had seen as a hard-working man among men of very little culture or nobility.  . . .
. . . With all his experience to draw on, and in spite of the remarkable success that has come to him from his detective stories, Mr. Hammett does not want to go on writing them.  . . .
. . . He considers The Dain Curse a silly story, The Maltese Falcon "too manufactured," and The Glass Key not so bad—that the clews were nicely placed there, although nobody seemed to see them.  . . .
Resources:
- The GAD Wiki entry for Hammett is HERE.
- The Thrilling Detective website has a Hammett page HERE.

Category: Detective fiction

"High-Brow Horror"

"On Intellectual Thrillers."
Short article.
Appeared in The Bookman (March 1933), pages 253-254.
Online HERE.
If mere murder isn't stimulating enough for you, this anonymous writer has his own prescription: the intellectual shocker, which, he insists, is "none too easy to find." (It's obvious, by the way, that he holds a very low opinion of detective fiction.)
. . . The requirements for the pure type of intellectual thriller are hard to meet: there should be a good, tight plot, an author for a taste for the occult and the supernatural, a conclusion which refuses to beg any questions.  . . .
He believes those
. . . maddening stories which turn out to have a prosaic explanation for mysterious occurrences [should] go into the deepest limbo.
and he dismisses
. . . mere Gothic tales which get nowhere . . . Stories of the supernatural alone will not serve the purpose we have in mind . . .
He points to Englishman Charles Williams as
 . . . the modern master of high-brow horror . . .
Charles Williams
but
. . . for those who are new to the taste, there is an American writer who turns out very good ones: A. Merritt [who] is well worth looking up when the Hemingways, the Faulkners, the Dos Passos and the Dreisers begin to pall.
A. Merritt
He complains, though, that
. . . the cerebral shocker is seldom written by an American; perhaps that is the reason why it is lumped indiscriminately with the detective stories for review, or overlooked entirely.
Among the books and authors our critic mentions:

~ Rider Haggard: She (online HERE).
~ Bulwer-Lytton: Zanoni (online HERE), Phra the Phoenician.
~ Charles Williams: The Place of the Lion, War in Heaven, The Greater Trumps, Many Dimensions, Shadows of Ecstasy.
~ A. Merritt: The Moon Pool (online HERE), Burn, Witch, Burn! (online HERE).
~ Guy Endore: The Man from Limbo, The Werewolf of Paris.



Category: Horror and supernatural fiction

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Robophobia!

DOCTOR WHO.
TV series: 1963-89, 695 episodes.
"The Robots of Death" (1977) (script HERE).
IMDb data (with SPOILERS): Part 1, Part 2Part 3, and Part 4.
"I have an uncomfortable feeling that if the murderer doesn't kill us, the commander will. That is assuming they're not one and the same person."
A science fiction series has a go at combining a couple of Agatha Christie plots (can you tell which ones?) and succeeds. By the third part you'll know whodunit but you won't have a clue about how the Doctor intends to cure the problem:
The TARDIS materializes aboard a sandminer, a mining ship on a desert planet run by a robot labor force headed by a fairly small but sniping human crew. As one crewman is discovered strangled to death, the Doctor and Leela arrive just in time to become the prime suspects. — Written by statmanjeff on IMDb
Other memorable quotes:

"Yes, I suppose it's also a coincidence that, as soon as you two arrive, three of our people are killed. Well?"
"Oh, sorry, I thought it was a rhetorical qu... Yes, it's just a coincidence."

"You're a stowaway. What could be more suspicious than a stowaway?"
"A dead stowaway."

"He was murdered!"
"How do you know?"
"Because people don't strangle themselves."

"I don’t suppose there are any weapons aboard this mine."
"They aren’t necessary."
"They are now.

"Have you never heard of the double bluff?"

"There are three types of robots aboard this mine: Dumbs, Vocs, a Super-Voc, and then there's you. Would you care to explain that?"

"Please do not throw hands at me."
Resource:
- The most detailed description of "The Robots of Death" (a complete SPOILER, of course) is on the amazing DOCTOR WHO REFERENCE GUIDE HERE.

Category: Science fiction mysteries

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Serial Murders

THE "CANARY" MURDER CASE.
By S. S. Van Dine [Willard Huntington Wright, 1888-1939].
Scribner's.
1927. 343 pages.
Filmed in 1929 (IMDb).

THE GREENE MURDER CASE.
By S. S. Van Dine [Willard Huntington Wright, 1888-1939].
Scribner's.
1928. 388 pages.
Filmed in 1929 (IMDb).

Both of these novels were serialized in Scribner's magazine before seeing hardcover publication. To save you a few bucks, we're linking to those serial installments below. You can thank us later.
~ THE "CANARY" MURDER CASE:
Part 1 HERE.
Part 2 HERE.
Part 3 HERE.
Part 4 HERE.
~ THE GREENE MURDER CASE:
Part 1 HERE.
Part 2 HERE.
Part 3 HERE.
Part 4 HERE.

Resource:
- We last encountered Van Dine about a year ago HERE.

Category: Detective fiction (pure variety)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Murder on the Final Frontier

STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.
TV series: 1987-94, 178 episodes.
"A Matter of Perspective" (1990), "Aquiel" (1993), and "Suspicions" (1993).
"I was beginning to find out that investigating a murder was a little more perilous than I'd thought."
For some strange reason, regardless of the medium (print, film, etc.), science fiction (SF) and the detective story have never seemed to mesh well (or have never been made to mesh well). Why this is so would probably make a fine subject for a doctoral dissertation, but we just don't have the time. Suffice it to say that these ST:TNG episodes really did try to put the two genres together with, at best, mixed results; they did, however, successfully adhere to one of Theodore Sturgeon's obiter dicta, that (paraphrasing here) you don't write a Western with ray guns and try to pass it off as SF. The solutions to the mysteries in all three shows depend entirely on their own internally consistent fantasy elements, regardless of how nonsensical and far-fetched those elements might be.

"A Matter of Perspective" (script HERE):
"Investigator, in our system of jurisprudence a man is innocent until proved guilty."
"In ours, he is guilty until he is proved innocent — and you are under our jurisdiction."
Commander Will Ryker is charged with murder after returning from a space station that exploded just as he was being beamed aboard the Enterprise. Before Captain Picard turns him over to the appropriate authorities, however, he wants to examine all of the evidence. Using the holodeck, they recreate events from the perspective of those involved. As far as Ryker is concerned he acted properly throughout and did nothing wrong. When the dead man's wife testifies, however, she insists that Ryker made improper advances towards her leading Ryker to kill her husband. It's up to Data and the others to find the solution to what really happened. - Written by garykmcd on IMDb
In the 24th century they have a forensic scientist's wet dream, the holodeck, a device that can reproduce past events in amazing detail; even so, a computer is only as smart as its programming. This episode puts one in mind of Rashomon (IMDb).
"Aquiel" (script HERE):
"You know me better than anyone here. Do I seem like the kind of person who would murder someone?"
Murderous intrigue abounds for the Enterprise when one of the crew aboard a subspace station is believed dead, and suspected to have taken part in it until the Klingons show up with the young lieutenant, to Geordi's taste. — IMDb
Call this one an unofficial remake of Laura (IMDb), right down to the picture on the wall (er, monitor).
"Suspicions" (script HERE):
"I couldn't help but admire his tenacity. He just wasn't going to accept defeat, and I hoped he would prove himself. But that was the last time I saw him alive."
Dr. Crusher puts her career on the line to prove a scientist's theoretical new shielding technology which may have cost him his life. — IMDb
This one has enough technobabble to satisfy any sci-fi fan, and Beverly Crusher makes a pretty good detective. Plot development-wise, it's reminiscent of The Third Man (IMDb).
Resources:
- MEMORY ALPHA, the ultimate Star Trek resource, has DETAILED descriptions of these episodes, but beware of SPOILERS: "A Matter of Perspective" is HERE; "Aquiel" is HERE; and "Suspicions" is HERE.
- Our last visit with the Enterprise crew was HERE.

Category: Science fiction mysteries

Sunday, January 18, 2015

True Crime Roundup V

According to these articles, in the '20s Prohibition was being vigorously, if nonsensically, enforced, drug addiction was on the rise, criminals weren't being prosecuted vigorously enough, and there was concern that young boys were rotting their brains with pulp fiction.

~ "Rum at Sea" (1923) [3 pages]:
. . . There seems to be a very general feeling among the papers, irrespective of their attitude toward Prohibition, that it would not be becoming for the Government to profit from the sale of liquor on the ships it actually owns, while forbidding such sale on foreign-owned ships in American waters.  . . . — THE LITERARY DIGEST (May 12, 1923)
~ "Our Million Drug Addicts" (1923) [2 pages]:
. . . To stop illicit distribution suddenly, with more than 50 per cent. of the physicians of the country still adhering to the 'vice' theory of opiate addiction, would only add to the suffering of thousands of innocent addicts who are forced by our laws to depend upon smugglers and peddlers for their narcotic supply. — THE LITERARY DIGEST (August 25, 1923)
~ " 'America First' - In Crime" (1923) [1 page]:
A 'SPORTING PUBLIC' which showers on the criminal, if he escapes, the sympathy usually extended to athletic and movie heroes, is largely to blame for the crime record of this country. This, at any rate, is the impression left in the minds of many American editors who are commenting on the vigorous indictment of our national lawlessness to be found in a recent report . . . — THE LITERARY DIGEST (September 15, 1923)
~ "What the Boys Are Reading" (1923) [1 page]:
. . . Dime novels began as rather good historical novels; at their worst they were no more than exciting stories written sometimes, but not always, in careless English. They were never immoral; on the contrary they reeked of morality.  . . . — THE LITERARY DIGEST (September 15, 1923)
Resources:
- Our last True Crime Roundup was HERE; you can find True Crime Roundups I HERE, II HERE, and III HERE.

Category: True crime

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Aye, There's the Ruby

"Here is your imitation stone," I cried, tossing the case on to the table. "Hand over the real one, or I shall shoot you like a dog."
"The Ruby of Khitmandu: A Serial Story Told in Alternate Chapters by Arth-r C-n-n D-yle and E. W. H-rn-ng."
By Hugh Kingsmill (1889-1949).
First appearance: The Bookman (April 1932), pages 10-15.
Holmes and Watson versus Raffles and Bunny. The question is: Who wins?
Resources:
- Hugh Kingsmill Lunn was a journalist and inveterate parodist; the Wikipedia article about him is HERE.
- The Guardian has an article about Raffles HERE.

Category: Sherlock Holmes-Raffles parody

Saturday, January 3, 2015

OLD-TIME DETECTION, Autumn 2014

(GIVE ME THAT) OLD-TIME DETECTION.
Autumn 2014. Issue #37.
Old-Time Detection Special Interest Group of American Mensa, Ltd.
36 pages (including covers). $6.00

If you think you've missed something in the detective fiction field because you've only just discovered it or maybe you're just too young, Arthur Vidro's fine publication stands a good chance of catching you up. This latest issue of OLD-TIME DETECTION contains a wealth of items worth retrieving from obscurity, including a Hildegarde Withers short story that hasn't seen print for sixty-three years.

CONTENTS:

QUOTES:
"While [Stanley] Ellin may not, unfortunately, be a household name, he is one of the two greatest short story writers of the second half of the 20th century, and I don't know who the other one is."
FROM THE EDITOR:
. . . newly written mystery plays—excluding musicals—increasingly are scarce.  . . .  But we have a ray of hope.  . . .
PAPERBACK REVOLUTION:
- 47 years ago, Charles Shibuk took a close look at available paperbacks.
. . . Unfortunately there have been many gaps in the [paperback] reprint field. . . .
CHRISTIE CORNER:
- Updates in the world of Dame Agatha Christie.
. . . Donning the mantle of a much-loved and respected writer like Agatha Christie is, in the final analysis, a poisoned chalice.  . . .
MINI-REVIEWS:
- Critiques of books by H. Rider Haggard, Anne Austin, Jon L. Breen, Van Wyck Mason, and a collection edited by Otto Penzler. Reviews of: Mr. Meeson's Will - Murder at Bridge - Touch of the Past - Dardanelles Derelict - The Dutch Shoe Mystery - Mark Twain's Medieval Romance.

STANLEY ELLIN'S START:
- Mystery writer Stanley Ellin got his first break in 1946, thanks to Ellery Queen. Ellin explains how Queen and his namesake magazine allowed Ellin to become a professional writer.
. . . So, as to that question of whether I would have made a career for myself in writing if there had not been a Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee, I can only say that the foregoing evidence indicates that it was, at the very least, touch and go.  . . .
"LOST" FICTION:
- Hildegarde Withers solves "Where Angels Fear to Tread," by Stuart Palmer.
. . . Then a bullet ricocheted screaming down the hallway . . .
AT THE CINEMA:
- William Everson tells about two very short films, Don't Talk and Behind the Headlines.
. . . it's well-knit, well-constructed and doesn't waste time putting in either laughs or action just for their own sake.  . . .
35-PLUS YEARS AGO:
- Reviews by Jon L. Breen of books published in 1973 and 1981.
. . . he can write the Ian Fleming-type thriller and make you believe it.  . . .
LOOKING BACKWARD:
- Reviews by Charles Shibuk that originally appeared a generation ago. Books covered: Murder in Triplicate - A Most Immoral Murder - The Longbow Murder - Shadow of a Tiger.

THE READERS WRITE:
- Letters from our readers.
. . . This larger than usual magazine was very welcome.  . . .
PUZZLE:
- Solve the puzzle, win a prize.

Subscription information:
- Published three times a year: spring, summer, and autumn.
- Sample copy: $6.00 in U.S.; $10.00 anywhere else.
- One-year U.S.: $18.00 ($12.50 for Mensans).
- One-year overseas: $40.00 (or 20 pounds sterling or 25 euros).
- Payment: Checks or cash or U.S. postage stamps.
- Mailing address:
Arthur Vidro, editor
Old-Time Detection
2 Ellery Street
Claremont, New Hampshire 03743
- Web address:
oldtimedetection@netzero.net

Resources:
- ONTOS previously covered Issue #36 HERE.

Category: Detective fiction

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Often by and Sometimes about Vincent Starrett

[When Conan Doyle visited Chicago] I wanted to talk of Sherlock Holmes, and Sir Arthur stubbornly insisted upon talking spiritualism. Mr. Chesterton was more amenable, and willingly talked Father Brown until he was dragged away.THE BOOKMAN (October 1929)
It would be foolish indeed to attempt to determine who was the greater Sherlockian (or Holmesian), Christopher Morley (1890-1957) or (Charles) Vincent (Emerson) Starrett (1886-1974), and we won't even try it.
Vincent Starrett, a full-time poet but only a part-time detective fiction writer, is justly famous for this poem:

                      221B

Here dwell together still two men of note
Who never lived and so can never die:
How very near they seem, yet how remote
That age before the world went all awry.
But still the game’s afoot for those with ears
Attuned to catch the distant view-halloo:
England is England yet, for all our fears–
Only those things the heart believes are true.
A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
As night descends upon this fabled street:
A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
And it is always eighteen ninety-five.
– Vincent Starrett

What follows is a cursory outline of Starrett's contributions to detective fiction that isn't meant to be comprehensive in any sense; click the links for more information.

THE UNIQUE HAMLET.
By Vincent Starrett (1886-1974).
Privately printed.
1920. 39 pages.
Online HERE.
COFFINS FOR TWO.
By Vincent Starrett (1886-1974).
Covici-McGee Co.
1924. 242 pages.
Online HERE.
Collection: 18 stories.
Contents:

1. "The Fugitive"
2. "The Elixir of Death"
3. "Exeunt Omnes"
4. "Four Friends of Mavis
5. "The Head of Cromwell"
6. "The Widow of Maltrata"
7. "The Princess Antimacassar"
8. "Decadence and John Fenderson"
9. "Coffins for Two"
10. "The Truth about Delbridge"
11. "The End of the Story"
12. "The Pleasant Madness of the Faculty"
13. "Thirty Pieces of Silver"
14. "The Episode of the Plugged Dime"
15. "The Man Who Loved Leopards"
16. "Request of the Dying"
17. "Eighteen Steps"
18. "The Artistic Temperament"

MURDER ON 'B' DECK.
By Vincent Starrett (1886-1974).
Doubleday, Doran.
1929. 279 pages.
The first of three Walter Ghost mysteries:
[Full review] Setting a murder on board the transatlantic liner, Latakia, two days at sea, facilitates a good deal more tension in this mystery than if it had been set on land. The culprit's presence is acutely felt, the characters are captive and forced to mingle, suspensions run rampant. Meanwhile amateur sleuth, Walter Ghost, awaits the delivery of cablegrams and contemplates some obscure (to the reader) clues to the crime. — Almeta, GOODREADS (November 2, 2014)
The other two:

DEAD MAN INSIDE.
By Vincent Starrett (1886-1974).
Doubleday.
1931. 310 pages.
THE END OF MR. GARMENT.
By Vincent Starrett (1886-1974).
Doubleday.
1932. 304 pages.
Here's another collection, this one getting no respect from a reviewer:

THE BLUE DOOR.
By Vincent Starrett (1886-1974).
Doubleday, Doran (Crime Club).
1930. 345 pages. $2.00
Collection: 10 stories.
Contents:

1. "The Blue Door"
2. "Too Many Sleuths"
3. "The Fingernail Clue"
4. "The Woman in Black" [Jimmy Lavender]
5. "The Wrong Stairway"
6. "The Street of Idols"
7. "A Volume of Poe"
8. "The Skylark"
9. "The Ace of Clubs"
10. "Out There in the Dark" [Jimmy Lavender]
[Full review] The Blue Door is a collection of short stories published in various magazines and newspapers during the last four years and now collected in book form. Although they are of average worth, it is difficult to understand why they were rescued from the files—even for a dollar. — William C. Weber, "Murder Will Out," THE SATURDAY REVIEW (December 20, 1930)
Starrett's most famous and reviewed Sherlockian tome (which had very little to do with the movie) is:

THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES.
By Vincent Starrett (1886-1974).
Macmillan.
1933. 214 pages. $2.00

Reviews: HERE, HERE [2 pages], and HERE. GOODREADS also has reviews HERE and HERE.
For background involving the book's production, see Starrett's own articles HERE [7 pages] and HERE [6 pages].
THE GREAT HOTEL MURDER.
By Vincent Starrett (1886-1974).
Crime Club.
1935. 299 pages. $2.00
Filmed in 1935 (IMDb).
[Full review] Banker in Chi. incog. found poisoned in hotel room. Riley Blackwood, dramatic-critic-detective runs down killer. - Too many threads in plot confuse the unravelling. Good talk and exciting finish about balance scales. - Verdict: 50-50. — "The Criminal Record," THE SATURDAY REVIEW (May 25, 1935)
MIDNIGHT AND PERCY JONES.
By Vincent Starrett (1886-1974).
Covici-Friede.
1938. $2.00
[Full review] Concert singer shot; radio announcer vanishes; another killing—and drama critic Blackwood spots third death before case closes. - Chicago night life, cynically amusing cops, bullet spattered climax, plentiful red herrings, and gruesome solution, expertly blended. - Verdict: Worthwhile. — "The Criminal Record," THE SATURDAY REVIEW (February 26, 1938)
221B: STUDIES IN SHERLOCK HOLMES BY VARIOUS HANDS.
By Vincent Starrett (1886-1974), ed.
Macmilllan.
1940. 247 pages. $2.50
Reviews: HERE [2 pages], HERE [page 118, top right], and HERE.

THE CASE-BOOK OF JIMMY LAVENDER.
By Vincent Starrett (1886-1974).
Gold Label.
1944. $2.50
Collection: 10 stories.
[Full review] Collected exploits of suave and perspicacious Chicago private operative. - Good omnibus of short stories—all of them well plotted and excellently worked out—with a few humdingers. - Verdict: For the short-story shelf. — "The Criminal Record," THE SATURDAY REVIEW (May 20, 1944)
[Full review] Twelve of the well-known detective's best adventures are collected in book form for the first time. Good hunting. — "Check List," THE AMERICAN MERCURY (July 1944)
[Excerpts] Comprising about a fourth of the published cases of Jimmie Lavender, the only sleuth in mystery fiction named for a major-league baseball player, these twelve tales from the Twenties and Thirties are representative examples of the now mostly forgotten detective short stories of Vincent Starrett, better known today as the biographer of Lavender’s inspiration, Sherlock Holmes.
By modern standards, none is of the first rank, but most are well-plotted puzzles cast in the classic mold, with a nice blend of cerebral deduction and physical action, and even fifty years and more later they have their attractions.  . . . — Ellen Nehr, MYSTERY*FILE (14 January 2009)
MURDER IN PEKING.
By Vincent Starrett (1886-1974).
Lantern Press.
1946. $2.50
[a.k.a. LAUGHING BUDDHA]
[Full review] Cathayan criminal cycle commenced by strangling of Danish beauty in temple near Peking. Mr. Hope Johnson finally stops the massacre. - Competent plotting and interesting Oriental background nearly atone for bunch of sawdusty and generally uninteresting characters. - Verdict: Readable. — "The Criminal Record," THE SATURDAY REVIEW (April 20, 1946)
THE QUICK AND THE DEAD.
By Vincent Starrett (1886-1974).
Arkham House.
1965. $65.00 - $100.00 or more.
Collection: 10 stories.
Contents:

1. “The Fugitive”
2. “The Man in the Cask”
3. “The Quick and the Dead”
4. “The Sinless Village”
5. “The Head of Cromwell”
6. “Penelope”
7. “The Elixir of Death”
8. “Coffins for Two”
9. “The Tattooed Man”
10. “Footsteps of Fear”

Resources:
- The FICTIONMAGS INDEX (go HERE) lists many, but not all, of Starrett's short fiction; Jimmy Lavender stories are indexed HERE.
- Mike Grost has much to say about Starrett's writings HERE.
- Background about Starrett is on the GAD Wiki HERE and Wikipedia HERE.
- STUDIES IN STARRETT, an entire website dedicated to our author, is HERE.
- THE BATTERED SILICON DISPATCH BOX offers reissues of Starrett's works HERE and HERE (PDF).
- A previous ONTOS article featured fellow Sherlockian Christopher Morley HERE.

Category: Detective fiction