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The Penguin Book of Gaslight Crime: Con Artists, Burglars, Rogues, and Scoundrels from the Timeof Sherlock Holmes
About the book
Read Michael Sims's posts on the Penguin Blog
An exclusive collection-the first- ever gathering of rogues from the gaslight era
collected here for the first time: the best crime fiction from the gaslight era. All the legendary thieves are present-Arsène Lupin and A. J. Raffles, Colonel Clay and Simon Carne, Romney Pringle, Get Rich Quick Wallingford, and the Infallible Godahl-burgling London and Paris, conning New York and Ostend, laughing all the way to the bank. Also featured are stories by distinguished writers from outside the mystery and detective genres, including Sinclair Lewis, Arnold Bennett, H. G. Wells, and William Hope Hodgson.read more
Sims has done an amazing job assembling these stories of criminal capers from the gaslight era (love the cover, with the gloved gent's hand in the act of swiping the Penguin logo). The introductions are informative, inspiring and invaluable.
Fascinating to see this vein of fiction that arose in response to the glittering wealth of the Gilded Age (many of the rich people in these stories are Americans). But Victorian charm isn't quite enough to sustain the collection. And it may have been a bit much to have 4 stories with "Diamonds" in the title.
Standout stories by: Grant Allen, Guy Boothby, Arnold Bennett, O. Henry (of course), Sinclair Lewis (!), and Edgar Wallace - but that's half the collection, with no stinkers. A pretty good average.read more
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Noted for such science books as Darwin's Orchestra and Adam's Navel, Sims has compiled a thoroughly enjoyable anthology of what he calls caper stories from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Notable authors include Raffles's creator E.W. Hornung ("Nine Points of the Law"), as well as names not usually associated with the crime genre like Sinclair Lewis ("The Willow Walk") and Arnold Bennett ("A Comedy on the Gold Coast"). All 12 tales are classics-suspenseful, humorous and charming. One can only hope for a sequel that will include a couple of curious omissions, namely Maurice Leblanc, of ArsEne Lupin fame, and R. Austin Freeman, creator of art forger Danby Croker. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved