Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Penguin Book of Gaslight Crime: Con Artists, Burglars, Rogues, and Scoundrels From the Time of Sherlock Holmes, edited by Michael Sims

From "The Episode of the Diamond Links": "Let us take a trip to Switzerland," said Lady Vandrift. And any one who knows Amelia will not be surprised to learn that we did take a trip to Switzerland accordingly.

Oh, how I loved this volume of short mystery stories. Each of them were witty and funny. All of the stories but one aren't detective stories; they're from the point of view of the criminal; which was interesting. As the title suggests, there are all manner of criminals: gentlemen thieves, rogues, con men, burglars etc. No murderers though, and the thieves get away with their crimes. The stories are all pretty suspenseful; not super suspenseful as they're written in an older style, but intriguing enough to make you want to finish each story in one go. The volume begins with "The Episode of the Diamond Links" by Grant Allen, and concludes with "Four Square Jane" by Edgar Wallace (the only story here featuring a female, and one of my favorites too.) I'm planning to read The Penguin Book of Victorian Women in Crime soon as well. Their is a short 1 1/2 page bio-note on each author before their story, and an introduction by Michael Sims, though I confess I just skimmed over the bio-notes and didn't read the introduction at all.

So, yes, this was a marvelous, though slender, volume of amazing short mysteries, each with their own style and distinctive twists. I liked the cover too; the hand is surreptitiously stealing the Penguin logo. A clever, simple cover that fits the contents well.

Read The Penguin Book of Gaslight Crime:
  • if you like mystery
  • if you like short stories
  • if you like literature from the "gas-light" era (1880s-1910 or thereabouts)
248 pages.
Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!

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