Victorian Tales of Mystery and Detection: An Oxford Anthology

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Michael Cox
Oxford University Press, 1992 - Detective and mystery stories - 578 pages
2 Reviews
The Victorian era saw the first great flowering of the detective story. Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, J.S. LeFanu, and a host of others pioneered a genre of fiction that remains among the most popular today. Now, in Victorian Tales of Mystery and Detection, Michael Cox provides a sampling of the finest detective stories written from the 1840s to the early twentieth century.
Here readers will find a vast array of detectives and villains, and a multitude of murder methods and motives. In Edgar Allen Poe's "The Purloined Letter," the identity of the robber is known from the start--it is the surreptitious retrieval of the letter that is the mystery. In M. McDonnell Bodkin's "Murder By Proxy," a gentleman is shot in the head at close range, by a murderer who was not even in the same room. Charles Dickens's "Hunted Down" portrays a murderer who was slowly poisoning his very own nieces for their insurance money. And in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Lost Special," a train and its passengers vanish in thin air. In addition, Cox (who is rapidly becoming one of the foremost experts on Victorian popular fiction) arranges the stories in chronological order so that readers can follow the genre as it develops over time. For instance, in Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" we see an example of the many Sherlock Holmes escapades that popularized and came to typify the detective story for the Victorian public. And in the progression of the stories, we witness the evolution of the investigator from Poe's brilliant and eccentric Chevalier C. August Dupin, to Doyle's scientific Sherlock Holmes, into Robert Barr's cavalier Valmont (a possible model for Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot).
Including well-known stories by famous authors, as well as little known gems reprinted for the first time, Victorian Tales of Mystery and Detection not only offers hours of enjoyment and escape for all lovers of crime fiction, but also brings alive the society, language, the sights, and sounds of the Victorian age.

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Review: Victorian Tales of Mystery and Detection: An Oxford Anthology

User Review  - Bev Hankins - Goodreads

Victorian Tales of Mystery & Detection, edited by Michael Cox, gives us a sampling of some of the finest tales written from the 1840s to the early 20th Century. Authors include everyone from Sir ... Read full review

Review: Victorian Tales of Mystery and Detection: An Oxford Anthology

User Review  - Nancy - Goodreads

Written in a more wordy manner (ie frequent and long descriptions of people or places), the book took some adapting to. Having said that, it was an enjoyable read. There was some clever deducing to be done in the course of reading the thirty-one stories. It was a pleasure. Read full review

Contents

The Purloined Letter 1845 edgar AllAN POE l
18
Hunted Down 1859 charles d1ckens
48
Levisons Victim 1870 mary El1zabeth braddon
69
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About the author (1992)


About the Editor:
Michael Cox is coeditor of The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories and Victorian Ghost Stories with R.A. Gilbert.

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