Monday, January 6, 2014

A Stitch in Crime

By E. W. Hornung.
1914. 315 pages. $1.35
Story collection: 8 stories.
Online HERE.

I. "The Physician Who Healed Himself"
II. "The Life-Preserver"
III. "A Hopeless Case"
IV. "The Golden Key"
V. "A Schoolmaster Abroad"
VI. "One Possessed"
VII. "The Doctor's Assistant"
VIII. "The Second Murderer"

Don't expect much mystery from the creator of Raffles and the brother-in-law of Conan Doyle, just lots of adventure. Abstractions from longer reviews follow; use the links for more:
This is a collection of stories based on the experiments of a man who has himself been cured of a criminal tendency by an operation on the brain. — THE OUTLOOK (August 1914)
. . . Mr. Hornung has happily endowed [his main character] with the instincts of a detective as well as with those of a social reformer, and the result is that the half-dozen [sic] stories in this book are sufficiently readable to beguile pleasantly an idle hour. — THE NATION (August 13, 1914; scroll to page 194, middle)
Mr. E. W. Hornung is fortunate in the possession of a fertile imagination, which enables him at fairly regular intervals to produce new and whimsical personalities, whose chief attraction is their paradoxical ability to reverse the established order of things. In Raffles, for instance, he gave us the counterpart, of Sherlock Holmes. The detective who never fails to catch the criminal is a familiar figure in fiction; but the criminal whom no detective can catch is a distinct innovation. And now Mr. Hornung has given us still another novelty in what he chooses to call The Crime Doctor. The conventional detective exists for the purpose of protecting the public by detecting and punishing the criminal; the Crime Doctor, on the contrary, devotes himself to the more difficult task of anticipating the crime, and protecting the would-be criminal against himself. The numerous adventures of Dr. Dollar, the expert in this sort of divination, are extremely varied, sometimes quite ingenious, and occasionally verge upon the borderline of farce-comedy. — THE BOOKMAN (September 1914; scroll to page 96; SPOILERS)
THE CRIME DOCTOR was critically acclaimed when first published but unfortunately Dr. Dollar’s thrilling adventures came to a halt shortly after because of the death of the author. Such the pity because the Crime Doctor is an intriguing character, one whom could stand shoulder to shoulder with Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chan, Philo Vance as well as Hornung’s most popular creation, Raffles, the Gentleman Cracksmith. — NEW YORK BOOK TIME (March 10, 2008)

Category: Detective fiction

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