Tuesday, March 3, 2015


The Smart Set endured a sometimes chequered career, undergoing numerous editorial changes over its thirty-year lifetime. The magazine's founder, says Wikipedia, "wanted to provide sophisticated content that would reinforce the social values of New York’s social elite and gave it the subtitle 'The Magazine of Cleverness'." Judge for yourself just how clever the following criminously related pieces are.
"The Unconscious Detective."
By Caroline Duer (1865-1956).
The Smart Set (May 1902), pages 151-157.
Online HERE.

As Miss Marple demonstrated, little old ladies can make good detectives—even unconscious ones:
. . . "I suppose you heard of the burglary," I observed; "and I almost think it served those silly young women right, for wanting to deck themselves out so inappropriately. The idea of bringing their jewels down to the country!"  . . .
"The Great Security Bank Mystery."
By Isaac Anderson (1868-1961).
The Smart Set (December 1902), page 96.
Online HERE.

Did he say "great detective"?
. . . "The burglar," he announced, confidently, "was a man of less than medium height." 
"But how—?" began the president. 
"Very simple, indeed," interrupted the detective.  . . .
"Cause for Suspicion."
By Tom P. Morgan.
The Smart Set (April 1905), page 61.
Online HERE.

What could possibly move the thief to commit burglary? You'd be surprised—then, again, maybe you wouldn't:
. . . "Pshaw! why, Lester Pinney is as honest as the day is long!"  . . .
"More Adventures of Oilock Combs: The Succored Beauty."
By William B. Kahn.
The Smart Set (October 1905), pages 93-95.
Online HERE and on Bill Peschel's blog with his comments HERE.
. . . The manner in which she made this statement as well as the declaration itself seemed to make a deep impression upon Combs. Without uttering one word he sat there for fully four minutes. The way in which he puffed nervously at the pipe showed me that he was thinking. Suddenly, with an exclamation of delight, he dashed out of the room and down the stairs, leaving the amazed duchess and myself in his apartments. But not for long. In forty-three seconds he was again in the room and, dropping into his chair thoroughly exhausted, he triumphantly cried: "I have it!"  . . .

Categories: Humorous detective stories, Sherlock Holmes parodies

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