Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Detective Story Club for Connoisseurs

The Detective Story Club was launched in 1929, with the expressed purpose of publishing the best detective and mystery novels as selected by a committee of experts. Each volume was marked with a distinctive "Man with a Gun" stamp on the cover.

In 2015, HarperCollins began reprinting the series, with new introductions.  Some of the books lean over towards the supernatural genre, even if they don't embrace it. Some of the new introductions are by noted genre authorities like Richard Dalby and Hugh Lamb.  Some of the novels are by authors well-known to genre readers, like Robert Louis Stevenson and Bernard Capes.

Here I'd like to call attention to four of the titles published so far that might be of interest to readers of Wormwoodiana.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, contains more than just the classic story.  Introduced by Richard Dalby, there are two additional stories by Stevenson ("The Body Snatcher" and "Markheim") and two additional stories by other hands (the anonymous 1890 "Untold Sequel of the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", later attributed to one Francis H. Little, and a pastiche "Dr. Jekyl" [sic] by Robert J. McLaughlin).

Called Back, by Hugh Conway, with an introduction by Martin Edwards

The Mystery of the Skeleton Key, by Bernard Capes, with an introduction by Hugh Lamb

The Noose, by Philip Macdonald, son of Ronald Macdonald and the grandson of George Macdonald.  Introduction by H.R.F. Keating

The whole series is well worth looking into.


  1. Hi, Doug,
    I just this summer read "Called Back" in an ancient 19th century paperback. I enjoyed it quite a bit as a sensation novel, since the mystery is pretty obvious. Still, the opening chapter of the blind man in the strange house and the later encounter with the Italian revolutionary in Siberia are quite atmospheric.

  2. I picked up that Jekyll and Hyde edition in a local charity shop a couple of weeks ago. was fun to finally get around to reading the main story but i thought those two pastiches were an utter waste of paper.

    1. Glad to know, so I won't put this near the top of my Pile to Read!