This masterful collection of seventeen classic mystery stories, dating from 1837 to 1914, traces the earliest history of popular detective fiction.
Today, the figure of Sherlock Holmes towers over detective fiction like a colossus―but it was not always so. Edgar Allan Poe’s French detective Dupin, the hero of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” preceded Holmes’s deductive reasoning by more than forty years with his “tales of ratiocination.” In A Study in Scarlet, the first of Holmes’ adventures, Doyle acknowledged his debt to Poe―and to Émile Gaboriau, whose thief-turned-detective Monsieur Lecoq debuted in France twenty years earlier.
If “Rue Morgue” was the first true detective story in English, the title of the first full-length detective novel is more hotly contested. Two books by Wilkie Collins―The Woman in White (1859) and The Moonstone (1868)―are often given that honor, with the latter showing many of the features that came to identify the genre: a locked-room murder in an English country house; bungling local detectives outmatched by a brilliant amateur detective; a large cast of suspects and a plethora of red herrings; and a final twist before the truth is revealed. Others point to Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s The Trail of the Serpent (1861) or Aurora Floyd (1862), and others still to The Notting Hill Mystery (1862–3) by the pseudonymous “Charles Felix.”
As the early years of detective fiction gave way to two separate golden ages―of hard-boiled tales in America and intricately-plotted, so-called “cozy” murders in Britain―the legacy of Sherlock Holmes, with his fierce devotion to science and logic, gave way to street smarts on the one hand and social insight on the other―but even though these new sub-genres went their own ways, their detectives still required the intelligence and clear-sightedness that characterized the earliest works of detective fiction: the trademarks of Sherlock Holmes, and of all the detectives featured here.
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“The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes…features exploits of both the great detective’s predecessors…and his numerous literary progeny.”
About the Authors
Graeme Davis has been fascinated by horror fiction since his teens, devouring late-night reruns of the classic Universal and Hammer movies on his parents’ black-and-white TV and stripping local thrift-stores of horror titles. He began writing for tabletop role-playing games in the early 1980s, and among many other credits he helped develop Games Workshop’s blockbuster Warhammer dark-fantasy franchise and the 90s gothic hit Vampire: The Masquerade, as well as more than forty electronic games. This is his second anthology for Pegasus, following on from the 2017 collection Colonial Horrors. He lives in Lafayette, Colorado.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1848) transformed the American literary landscape with his innovations in the short story genre and his haunting lyrical poetry, and he is credited with inventing American gothic horror and detective fiction. He was first published in 1827 and then began a career as a magazine writer and editor and a sharp literary critic. In 1845 the publication of his most famous poem, “The Raven,” brought him national fame.
About the Narrators
Gabrielle de Cuir, award-winning narration, has narrated over two hundred titles and specializes in fantasy, humor, and titles requiring extensive foreign language and accent skills. She was a cowinner of the Audie Award for best narration in 2011 and a three-time finalist for the Audie and has garnered six AudioFile Earphones Awards. Her “velvet touch” as an actor’s director has earned her a special place in the audiobook world as the foremost producer for bestselling authors and celebrities.
Maxwell Caulfield is a film, stage, and television actor best known for his roles as Michael Carrington in the 1982 film Grease 2 and Miles Colby in the television shows The Colbys and Dynasty. His other acting credits include the films Gettysburg, The Real Blonde, and Emmerdale. He has won six AudioFile Earphones Awards.
Gabrielle de Cuir, award-winning narrator, has narrated over three hundred titles and specializes in fantasy, humor, and titles requiring extensive foreign language and accent skills. She was a cowinner of the Audie Award for best narration in 2011 and a three-time finalist for the Audie and has garnered six AudioFile Earphones Awards. Her “velvet touch” as an actor’s director has earned her a special place in the audiobook world as the foremost producer for bestselling authors and celebrities.
Alex Hyde-White is an actor and a producer of two films and hundreds of audiobooks thru his label Punch Audio.
John Lee is the winner of numerous Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration. He has twice won acclaim as AudioFile’s Best Voice in Fiction & Classics. He also narrates video games, does voice-over work, and writes plays. He is an accomplished stage actor and has written and coproduced the feature films Breathing Hard and Forfeit. He played Alydon in the 1963–64 Doctor Who serial The Daleks.
Jim Meskimen is a stage, film, and television actor who has appeared in many well-known movies and television shows. He acted in Apollo 13 and Frost/Nixon for director Ron Howard, both of which were nominated for Best Picture Oscars. His television appearances include The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Friends, Lie to Me, Criminal Minds, and Parks and Recreation. He is also a painter, award-winning audiobook narrator, and audiobook director for Galaxy Audio.
John Rubinstein is an actor, composer, and director who won a Tony Award for his starring role in Broadway’s Children of a Lesser God. He has narrated dozens of audiobooks, earning several AudioFile Earphones Awards and being named a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for best narration in 2013.
Stefan Rudnicki first became involved with audiobooks in 1994. Now a Grammy-winning audiobook producer, he has worked on more than three thousand audiobooks as a narrator, writer, producer, or director. He has narrated more than three hundred audiobooks. A recipient of multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards, he was presented the coveted Audie Award for solo narration in 2005, 2007, and 2014, and was named one of AudioFile’s Golden Voices in 2012.
Arthur Morey has won three AudioFile Magazine “Best Of” Awards, and his work has garnered numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and placed him as a finalist for two Audie Awards. He has acted in a number of productions, both off Broadway in New York and off Loop in Chicago. He graduated from Harvard and did graduate work at the University of Chicago. He has won awards for his fiction and drama, worked as an editor with several book publishers, and taught literature and writing at Northwestern University. His plays and songs have been produced in New York, Chicago, and Milan, where he has also performed.
Robin Eller is a narrator, actress, singer, and dance educator. She has appeared on stage, in films, and on such television programs as The Bernie Mac Show, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Young and the Restless, and General Hospital, as well as numerous commercials. As a dancer, she has traveled the world with the legendary James Brown.