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The Dead Witness


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The best Victorian detective stories, now in a scintillating new collection by the acclaimed editor of Dracula's Guest.

About the Author

Michael Sims is the author of acclaimed non-fiction books such as The Story of Charlotte's Web, Apollo's Fire: A Day on Earth in Nature and Imagination, Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form, and a companion volume for the National Geographic Channel TV series In the Womb. He has edited numerous anthologies, including recently Dracula' Guest and The Dead Witness, the first and second in his Connoisseur's Collection series for Bloomsbury. His essays and articles have appeared in periodicals ranging from New Statesman and The Times to American Archaeology and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He reviews regularly for the Washington Post and lives in western Pennsylvania.


Praise for Dracula's Guest: 'This creepy conoisseur's collection of Victorian vampire stories is PACKED with pointy-toothed blood-suckers and gruesome ghastliness ... Think Christopher Lee in his coffin, red eyes snapping open, dust off your wooden stake and garlic necklace, and blame the 18th century Eastern Europeans whose peasant superstitions spawned the whole gory vampire genre' * Daily Mail *
'Long before vampires were sparkly and romantic, they were actually scary. This collection brings together some of the Victorian era's most chilling bloodsucker fiction' * Entertainment Weekly *

Sims (Dracula's Guest) has pulled together an exceptionally intelligent and varied anthology of Victorian crime fiction, starting with a detective story that predated Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" by four years, William E. Burton's "The Secret Cell," reprinted for the first time since its original publication in 1837. The usual suspects-Poe, Dickens, Collins, Doyle, and Chesterton-are all on hand, but the chronological placement of their contributions, each with an insightful introduction, helps delineate what each author got from his or her predecessors. D'Artagnan's impressive deductive reconstruction of a gunfight 30 years before A Study in Scarlet amply justifies the surprising inclusion of a section from a Dumas pere musketeer romance. Among the lost treasures is the title story, "the first known detective story written by a woman," Mary Fortune, an Australian immigrant who wrote a story a month for 40 years under the pseudonym Waif Wander. Serious readers of detective fiction will cherish this volume. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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