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The Assyrian Empire and the Kingdom of Israel in Biblical Context

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The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes

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It's interesting that very few of these stories are straight imitations of Sherlock Holmes. It's also interesting that quite a few stories end without justice having been done, and in some cases the detective is the biggest villain of all! Some of these stories have the kind of moral ambiguity and atmosphere The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of Victorian and Edwardian crime and detective stories edited by Hugh Greene brother of Graham Greene. Some of these stories have the kind of moral ambiguity and atmosphere of corruption that is usually associated with the later American hard-boiled school of detective fiction.

Clifford Ashdown's The Assyrian Rejuvenator is another highly entertaining little story involving patent medicines and miracle cures. There are two female writers represented in this collection, and their stories are exceptionally good. Meade's Madame Sara is very much in the "incredibly exotic ways to murder people" mode, but very entertaining. The Woman in the Big Hat is interesting as a very early example of a story featuring a female detective. The Mysterious Death on the Underground Railway is even more interesting, partly for the oblique way in which the tale is told and partly because the Old Man in the Corner is such an odd detective - he's a student of crime whose interest in crime seems to be confined to working out how crimes were carried out.

He seems to have no interest in actually helping the police catch the criminal!


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For sheer outrageousness you can't go past William le Queux, with his wonderfully overheated and breathless and extremely paranoid story of diabolical plots against the British Empire being hatched by foreign agents, of whom there seem to have been thousands. Overall the quality of these stories is extremely high - Holmes had some very worthy rivals! A nice little sampler of detective fiction from the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, this one lives up to the title superbly. A handful of once-famous authors featured here reveal the scope of the genre, from gender-twist Holmesian characters to those of dubious morals who don't mind using crime-solving as a way to make some quick cash.

But the anthology starts to get really interesting with the presence no lo less than three excellent tales from the prolific R. Austin Freeman, the first two written under his Clifford Ashdown pseudonym.

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Meade and Robert Eustace, is my favourite story featured here. The best thing about all this? The anthology was so popular — a television series even followed — that Greene edited a number of sequels, and I'll be sure to check them out. Feb 21, Lisa Kucharski rated it really liked it. The time frame of Sherlock Holmes debut into the arena of literature is an interesting one, and the writers here do reflect some influence of this style though some have broken through to have a distinctive enough style on their own.

Some have a much more plodding beginning before plunging into the story, but once I was half way in the second half felt the stories were much more developed and The time frame of Sherlock Holmes debut into the arena of literature is an interesting one, and the writers here do reflect some influence of this style though some have broken through to have a distinctive enough style on their own.

Some have a much more plodding beginning before plunging into the story, but once I was half way in the second half felt the stories were much more developed and very intriguing. The ending story of Max Carrados the blind detective had one of the best ending twists. Always nice to see writing from a period of time that was just an interesting as the one author that has become synonymous for the period and genre.

If you like this period you should also check out and try to find stories by Andrew Spiller. Thirteen detective stories from the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. There's a nice spread of stories, although it's maybe a touch surprising that three of them are second contributions from authors featured earlier in the book.

In two of those cases, Greene takes the opportunity to feature a different detective protagonist, so I guess it all works out. If I'm honest, the book starts slow. There isn't much to stories like "The Case of Laker, Absconded" or "The Assyrian Rejuvenator," and the earlier tales have a slightly drier Victorian writing style when compared to the later ones.

Things really start to pick up with "Madame Sara," although it's more of a thriller than a mystery - and, frustratingly, the first segment of the serialized novel The Sorceress of the Strand ; Greene's introduction doesn't tell us that, which makes the "ending" extremely abrupt. Regardless, L. The Most Valuable Player of the collection is Baronness Orczy - famed for The Scarlet Pimpernel books - whose two stories, each with a different detective, are highly enjoyable and very easy to read. The Old Man in the Corner, in particular, is a character worth visiting.

My own favorite story in the collection is William Hope Hodgson's "The Horse of the Invisible," coincidentally the only story I had read before; quality always displays itself, I guess. I am usually no fan of ghost stories, but Hodgson's Carnacki stories have that wonderful, pulpy rationalist-meets-the-unknown flavor that I really enjoy.

The Carnacki stories are, in their way, a sort of turn-of-the-century Kolchak: The Night Stalker , with the added benefit that the supernatural element is really terrifying. Overall, this is a nice little gateway into the realm of British detective ficition, ca. I think some of the inclusions inadvertently prove why Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories became so popular - they were, after all, a unique combination of well-constructed mysteries, an engaging central figure, and solid prose - but these are still quite satisfying in their own way. Read them as I did: in a cold December, over consecutive nights, with cups of strong hot mocha.

You may find that the mood is suddenly quite Christmassy. This volume, along with a similar larger, yet more haphazardly chosen collection edited by Alan K. Russell with the same title gives a wonderful overview of the golden age of detective fiction. Although that term is usually taken to refer, at least in British detective fiction, to the period between World Wars, when country house parties were reinvented by Bright Young Things and writers such as Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, and Agatha Christie made their debuts, I believe it is a misnomer: This volume, along with a similar larger, yet more haphazardly chosen collection edited by Alan K.

The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (a Titles & Air Dates Guide)

Although that term is usually taken to refer, at least in British detective fiction, to the period between World Wars, when country house parties were reinvented by Bright Young Things and writers such as Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, and Agatha Christie made their debuts, I believe it is a misnomer: my own belief is that this was not a golden age but rather a Renaissance--the literal rebirth of a genre that had foundered upon the rocks of World War I. The true golden age of detective fiction, I think, began with Poe's M.

For those who do not believe me, read "His Last Bow" and see if the elegiac scene of Holmes and Watson upon a terrace does not seem, in many ways, a goodbye to a world that can be dealt with the purely rational terms of a Holmes or Hewitt or Thorndyke. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. The world was poised precariously in balance, and rude disturbances were coming with the years; but those who moved upon the scene were very sure that all was well: that nothing ever would be any worse nor ever could be any better.

There was no threat to righteousness and justice and the cause of peace on earth except from such as Moriarty and the lesser villains in his train. The cycle of events had come full turn, and the times were ripe for living--and for being lost. It is because their loss was suffered before they had been fully lived that they are times to which our hearts and longings cling. And we love the place in which the master moved and had his being: the England of those times, fat with the fruits of her achievements, but strong and daring still with the spirit of imperial adventure.

The seas were pounding, then as now, upon her coasts; the winds swept in across the moors, and fog came down on London. It was a stout and pleasant land, full of the flavor of the age; and it is small wonder that we who claim it in our thoughts should look to Baker Street as its epitome. For there the cabs rolled up before a certain door, and hurried steps were heard upon the stair, and England and her times had rendezvous within a hallowed room, at once familiar and mysterious…" For those who long to return to such a room, if only for an hour, I highly recommend this collection--as well as its eponymous cousin edited by Alan Russell.

Some stories are better than others, of course--the John Thorndyke and Romney Pringle tales are equal to some of Conan Doyle's--but all are full of the flavor of the era.