The Dead Witness

The Dead Witness

A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Detective Stories

Book - 2012
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"A scintillating new collection of the best Victorian detective stories--as suspenseful and entertaining as anything written today!"--P. [4] of cover.
Publisher: New York : Walker & Co., c2012.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9780802779182
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY Dead 02/2012
Characteristics: xxix, 576 p. ;,21 cm.
Additional Contributors: Sims, Michael 1958-


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Feb 12, 2019

The 22 short crime stories in this compilation are entertaining, generally. The erudite introductions to each story by the editor offer the reader other avenues to explore original sources on the Internet.

multcolib_susannel Apr 25, 2016

From its first beginings, the detective, crime and police procedurals attracted its readers.
This anthology is varied and interesting and just plain fun!

EuSei Jul 08, 2015

Interesting mismatched collection of Victorian/Edwardian mystery short stories. Some are very good, some are a bit predictable, others simply unreadable. My favorite was the last story, An Intangible Clue, by Anna Katharine Green. Through her femininity and fragility, the main character, Violet Strange, gets men to help her—very unlike the masculine Loveday Brooke created by Catherine Louisa Pirkis (The Murder at Troyte’s Hill) and modern women. She is the typical Victorian woman: feminine, delicate, a little minx when it comes to getting where/what she wants! I didn’t care for the stories by Dickens (one of my favorite authors), Poe (not my favorite author by far), or Wilkie Collins (can’t stand him, no matter how much I’ve tried). The tale by Hesketh Prichard, The Crime at Big Tree Portage, was such strange story and the character (a Canadian half-indian backwoods guide) so absurd, I stopped after a few phrases. The Whitechapel Mystery is a transcript of a gruesome murder, bone chilling and I couldn’t finish the story. But, of course, it is always a pleasure to reread the first meeting between Holmes and Watson in The Science of Deduction. Sims, the compiler of the tome, is an excellent representative of the modern PC crowd. He wrote that "The biblical [sic] Daniel seems to have been the first fictional detective." Inquiring minds would like to know where he got his proof that the Bible is a work of fiction. Then he goes on to comment on Bret Harte’s poem The Heathen Chinee, “a parody to Irish immigrants’ bias against Chinese immigrants who had suddenly become their competitors for jobs.” Sims labeled the Irish racist for adopting this poem. If instead of Chinese they were Germans, would he still call the Irish racist?


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Feb 12, 2019

This compendium gathers the adventures of private investigators and police detectives from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries including some overlooked gems. From well-know writers such as Mark Twain, Charles Dickens and Bret Harte, to the forgotten author who inspired Edgar Allan Poe's crime fiction, to a surprising range of talented female writers, "The Dead Witness" offers many memorable tales. Editor Michael Sims provides an informative introduction; thumbnail biographies of each writer; and a lengthy bibliography.


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