Vincent Starrett (1886 – 1974)


vincent-starrett-ca.-1910-6X4.5-1-773x1024Charles Vincent Emerson Starrett (1886-1974) known as Vincent Starrett was a Canadian-born journalist who become one of the world’s foremost experts on Sherlock Holmes. He was born above his grandfather’s bookshop in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His father moved the family to Chicago in 1889 where Starrett attended John Marshall High School. Starrett landed a job as a cub reporter with the Chicago Inter-Ocean in 1905. When that paper folded two years later he began working for the Chicago Daily News as a crime reporter, a feature writer, and finally a war correspondent in Mexico from 1914 to 1915. He was an editor and writing teacher, and reviewed books for the Chicago Tribune for over thirty years. Starrett wrote many non-fiction books about Doyle and other writers, and produced a Holmes pastiche, The Unique Hamlet (1920) as well as several mystery novels and many short stories. His series characters were Riley Blackwood, Walter Ghost, Jimmie Lavender, and the combination of George Washington Troxell and Fred Dellabough. His classic book The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is a cornerstone book for collectors. He was also the co-founder of The Baker Street Irregulars. As a poet, teacher and scholar he did published other works not listed below. He died in Chicago on January 5, 1974, and was buried at Graceland Cemetery next to his wife, Rachel Latimer Starrett.

Selected bibliography: The Unique Hamlet (1920); Coffins for Two (1924); Murder on B Deck (1929); The Blue Door (1930); Dead Man Inside (1931); The End of Mr Garment (1932); The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1934); The Great Hotel Murder (1935); Midnight and Percy Jones (1936); The Case Book of Jimmy Lavender (1944); Murder in Peking (1947) aka Laughing Buddha; The Quick and the Dead (1965).

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(Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC. Doubleday The Crime Club, US, 1935)

9781613161890_largeA Brief Introduction to Charles Vincent Emerson Starrett by Lyndsay Faye

In a grand Chicago hotel, a mysterious death sets a puzzling whodunnit in motion

When a New York banker is discovered dead from an apparent morphine overdose in a Chicago hotel, the circumstances surrounding his untimely end are suspicious to say the least. The dead man had switched rooms the night before with a stranger he met and drank with in the hotel bar. And before that, he’d registered under a fake name at the hotel, told his drinking companion a fake story about his visit to the Windy City, and seemingly made no effort to contact the actress, performing in a local show, to whom he was married. All of which is more than enough to raise eyebrows among those who discovered the body.

Enter theatre critic and amateur sleuth Riley Blackwood, a friend of the hotel’s owner, who endeavors to untangle this puzzling tale as discreetly as possible. But when another detective working the case, whose patron is unknown, is thrown from a yacht deck during a party by an equally unknown assailant, the investigation makes a splash among Chicago society. And then several of the possible suspects skip town, leaving Blackwood struggling to determine their guilt or innocence―and their whereabouts.

Reissued for the first time in over eighty years, The Great Hotel Murder is a devilishly complex whodunnit with a classical aristocratic setting, sure to please Golden Age mystery fans of all stripes. In 1935, the story was adapted for a film of the same name. (Source: Penzler Publishers)

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