A Crime is Afoot Leisure Reading July 2021

leisure_reading

I read in July

The Eye of Osiris, 1911 (Dr Thorndyke Mysteries #3) by R. Austin Freeman

The Seventh Guest (1935) by Gaston Boca (transl. John Pugmire)

The Case of Miss Elliott: The Teahouse Detective, 1905 by Baroness Orczy

Tread Softly, 1937 (Anthony Bathurst Mysteries # 20) by Brian Flynn

Black Widow (A Peter Duluth Mystery #8), 1952 by Patrick Quentin

The Crime at Tattenham Corner, 1929 (Inspector Stoddart Book 2) by Annie Haynes

The Duke of York’s Steps, 1929 (Inspector Poole #2) by Henry Wade

The Rising of the Moon, 1945 (Mrs Bradley #18) by Gladys Mitchell

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894) by Arthur Conan Doyle

My Book Notes: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894) by Arthur Conan Doyle

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Included in The Complete Sherlock Holmes and Tales of Terror and Mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Signature Edition The Complete Works Collections, 2011. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 2804 KB. Print Length: 1592 pages. ASIN: B004LE7PCM. ISBN: 2940012102744. This collection brings together Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Tales of Terror and Mystery along with all the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels in a single, convenient, high quality, but extremely low priced Kindle volume! This volume has been authorized for publication by the Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd. which holds the copyright to this title.

41LO0VIDDCL._SY346_The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in late 1893, dated 1894. It was published in the UK by G. Newnes Ltd., and in the US by Harper & Brothers in February 1894. This is the second collection featuring consulting detective Sherlock Holmes, after The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The twelve stories were originally published in The Strand Magazine from December 1892 to December 1893. Doyle determined that these would be the last Holmes stories, and he intended to kill the character in “The Final Problem”. Readers’ demands spurred him to write another Holmes novel in 1901-1902, The Hound of the Baskervilles, before “The Final Problem”. The following year, a new series, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, begins with the sequels to “The Final Problem”, revealing that Holmes actually survived. “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” was not published in the first British edition of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, but was published in the first American edition, although it was quickly removed due to its controversial subject. The story was later republished in the American editions of His Last Bow and included in the British editions of the Memoirs. Even today, most American editions of the canon include it with His Last Bow, while most British editions keep the story in its original place, within the Memoirs.

“The Adventure of Silver Blaze” was published in the UK in The Strand Magazine in December 1892, and in the US in the American edition of The Strand in January 1893. It was subsequently collected in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked “Silver Blazer” as the 13th in a list of his 19 favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. Sherlock Holmes and his partner Dr Watson travel by train to Dartmoor to investigate the disappearance of the racehorse Silver Blaze and the murder of his trainer, John Straker. The story is known by the dialogue between Holmes and Inspector Gregory of Scotland Yard: “Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention? To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time. The dog did nothing in the night-time. That was the curious incident”, remarked Sherlock Holmes.

“The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” was published in the UK in The Strand Magazine in January 1893, and in the US in Harper’s Weekly on January 14 1893. It was not published in the first British edition of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes but appeared in the first American edition, though it was quickly removed due to its controversial subject matter. Presently most English editions keeps it within its original place in the Memoirs, while US editions include it in His Last Bow. Holmes, Watson and Lestrade visit Susan Cushing, who has just received two human ears in a cardboard box in the mail. Scotland Yard’s Lestrade suspects this was a prank by three medical students whom Miss Cushing was forced to evict because of their behaviour. The package was sent from Belfast, the hometown of one of the students. After examining the package, Holmes is convinced that it is evidence of a serious crime.

“The Yellow Face” was published in the UK in The Strand Magazine in February 1893, and in the US in Harper’s Weekly on February 11, 1893. It was later included in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. A man named Grant Munro asks Holmes for advice on the strange behaviour of his wife, Effie. They live in the country near Norbury. One day Effie asked him for a large amount of her money, but she refused to give him any explanation. Some days later, during a walk, Munro saw a mysterious yellow figure in the window of a neighbouring cottage and became surprised when seeing his wife leaving the house. When they returned home, she refused to give him any explanation and Munro forbade her to come near that cottage again. Shortly after, Munro returned earlier than expected and his wife was not at home. He decided to go to the neighbouring cottage but no one else was in the house. However, he found a picture of his wife over the fireplace.

“The Adventure of the Stockbroker’s Clerk” was published in the UK in The Strand Magazine in March 1893 and in the US in Harper’s Weekly on March 11, 1893. It was later included in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The Woodhouse & Coxon company has closed. Mr. Hall Pycroft loses his job and finds himself looking for a new one in The City. When he was on the brink of despair, a major company, Mawson & William’s hires him. The weekend before starting in his new position, Pycroft is visited by a man named Arthur Pinner who offers him a better salary and an advance payment for a job at Franco-Midland Hardware Company Ltd. Tempted by this offer, he accepts under the condition that he must not communicate his resignation to Mawson & William’s and has to sign a document acknowledging he becomes the new Sales Manager at Franco-Midland. When Mr. Pycroft arrives at the company’s temporary premises in Birmingham he is greeted by Mr. Pinner’s brother, but he is concerned about the unprofessional aspect of the business. When he observes that the Pinners brothers have a distinctive golden filling in the same tooth, he begins to suspect they are the same person and turns to Sherlock Holmes for advice.

“The Adventure of Gloria Scott” was published in the UK in The Strand Magazine in April 1893, and in the US in Harper’s Weekly on April 15, 1893. It was later included in The Memories of Sherlock Holmes. It is chronologically the first case in the Sherlock Holmes canon. The story is narrated by Holmes himself. In this story Holmes applies his powers of deduction for the first time. He is still a student when he is invited by his friend Victor Trevor to his father’s house in Donnithorpe, Norfolk. One day, a strange old acquaintance of his father named Hudson comes to visit him, but Holmes has to return to London. Two months later, Victor asks him to come back. Hudson has had a very bad influence on his father. In fact his health has deteriorated so badly that he is already dead when Holmes arrives. Before he died, he told his son that he wrote the story of what happened in his previous life, which would explain everything that has occurred now. 

“The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual” was first published in the UK  in The Strand Magazine in May 1893, and in the US in Harper’s Weekly on May 13, 1893. It was later included in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes tells Watson one of his first investigations. A school friend, Reginald Musgrave, told him about his problems with his butler, Brunton. Reginald surprised him rummaging through his family’s private papers and with the ancestral ritual of the Musgraves in his hands, a relic considered worthless by the Musgraves. A few days after this incident, Brunton disappeared, as well as a maid named Rachel Howells.

“The Adventure of the Reigate Squire” was published in the UK in The Strand Magazine in June 1893, and in the US in Harper’s Weekly on 17 June 1893. It was later included in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Watson takes Holmes to a friend’s estate near Reigate in Surrey to rest after a rather exhausting case in France. Their host is Colonel Hayter. When they arrived in Surrey they learned there was recently a burglary at the nearby Acton estate in which the thieves stole a variety of things, but nothing terribly valuable. Then one morning, the Colonel’s butler came with the news that on a nearby estate, William Kirwan, the Cunningham’s coachman, was found murdered.

“The Adventure of the Crooked Man” was published in the UK in The Strand Magazine in July 1893, and in the US in Harper’s Weekly on July 8, 1893. It was later included in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes calls Watson to tell him about a case he’s been working on to witness the final stage of the investigation. The case is about the murder of Colonel Barclay, commander of the Royal Mallows Regiment in Aldershot. Two days before, Mrs. Barclay came home and had a raw with her husband. The servants heard the fight through the small living room door, then a scream and afterwards silence. The coachman tried to get in, but the door was locked from the inside, so he went around the garden entering the room through a French window. He found the colonel’s body lying on the floor, stiff and dead. Mrs. Barclay was unconscious on the sofa. His first intention was to open the door to the rest of the service, but the key was not in the door and he could not find it. He also found a peculiar club-like weapon near the body. The police immediately suspected that Ms. Barclay had murdered her husband.

The Adventure of the Resident Patient” was published in the UK in The Strand Magazine in August 1893, and in the US in Harper’s Weekly on 12 August 1893. It was later included in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Doctor Percy Trevelyan brings Holmes an unusual problem. Having been a brilliant student but a poor man, he becomes a party to an unusual business arrangement. A man named Blessington,  who claims to have some money to invest, has installed Trevelyan in a place with a prestigious address and pays all his expenses. In return, he demands three-fourths of all the money he earns at his practice. It turns out that Blessington is himself infirm and likes to have a doctor always nearby. Holmes though has to find out just why the Resident Patient is so worried.

“The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter” was published in the UK in The Strand Magazine in September 1893, and in the US in Harper’s Weekly on 16 September 1893. It was later included in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The story is known because in it Doyle introduces us Holmes’s elder brother Mycroft. Besides Doyle ranked this story as the seventeenth in a list of his nineteen favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. On this occasion Mycroft consults Sherlock about a rather unnerving experience that his neighbour Mr. Melas, a Greek interpreter, has recently gone through.

“The Adventure of the Naval Treaty” was published in the UK in The Strand Magazine in October and November 1893, and in the US in Harper’s Weekly on October 14 and 21, 1893. It was later included in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked this story 19th on the list of his 19 favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. Dr Watson asks Holmes to help his old schoolmate, Percy Phelps, who finds himself in a difficult situation. Mr. Phelps, Lord Holdhurst’s nephew and with a promising future at the Foreign Office, has had his hopes dashed. An important naval treaty has mysteriously disappeared while he was copying it in his office in Whitehall. Everyone was unaware that the treaty was in his possession and, apparently, there was no one in the building, but the valuable document has disappeared. When Holmes and Watson go to Phelps’ house, he is recovering from the nervous breakdown caused by this unfortunate incident that means both his professional and social ruin.

“The Final Problem” was published in the UK in The Strand Magazine in December 1893, and in the US in McClure’s in the same month. It was later included in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Set in 1891, the story features Holmes’s arch nemesis, the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty. Conan Doyle, in his list of his twelve best Sherlock Holmes stories, ranked “The Final Problem” in fourth place. When the story begins Holmes tells Watson that Moriarty is the genius behind a highly organised and extremely secret criminal force and if he could beat that man, if he could free society of him, he would feel that his own career had reach its summit.

My Take: I have very much enjoyed reading Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. Although The Memoirs are not at the level of The Adventures, there are some quite interesting stories among which I would highlight, for my taste: “The Adventure of Silver Blaze”, “The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual”,”The Adventure of the Crooked Man” and “The Final Problem”.

About the Author: Arthur Conan Doyle, in full Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, (born May 22, 1859, Edinburgh, Scotland—died July 7, 1930, Crowborough, Sussex, England), Scottish writer best known for his creation of the detective Sherlock Holmes—one of the most vivid and enduring characters in English fiction. While a medical student, Conan Doyle was deeply impressed by the skill of his professor, Dr Joseph Bell, in observing the most minute detail regarding a patient’s condition. This master of diagnostic deduction became the model for Conan Doyle’s literary creation, Sherlock Holmes, who first appeared in A Study in Scarlet, a novel-length story published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual of 1887. Driven by public clamour, Conan Doyle continued writing Sherlock Holmes adventures through 1926. (Source; Britannica)

Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 62 stories of Sherlock Holmes published between 1887 and 1927. The 62 stories includes 4 novels [A Study in Scarlet (1887); The Sign of the Four (1890); The Hound of the Baskervilles (1901–1902); The Valley of Fear (1914–19159] and 58 short stories serialized in UK/US magazines and collected in five volumes [The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 12 stories (1892); The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes 12 stories (1894); The Return of Sherlock Holmes 13 stories (1905); His Last Bow 7 stories (1917); and The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes 12 stories (1927)], and two short stories were published for special occasions: “The Field Bazaar” (1896) and “How Watson Learned the Trick” (1924).

The Official Site of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate

The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopaedia

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes public domain audiobook at LibriVox

Las memorias de Sherlock Holmes, de Arthur Conan Doyle

Las memorias de Sherlock Holmes es una colección de relatos de Arthur Conan Doyle publicados por primera vez a fines de 1893, con fecha de 1894. Fue publicado en el Reino Unido por G. Newnes Ltd., y en los Estados Unidos por Harper & Brothers en febrero de 1894. Esta es la segunda colección protagonizada por el detective aficionado Sherlock Holmes, después de Las aventuras de Sherlock Holmes. Los doce relatos se publicaron originalmente en The Strand Magazine entre diciembre de 1892 y diciembre de 1893. Doyle decidió que estas serían las últimas historias de Holmes, y tenía la intención de matar al personaje de “El problema final”. Las exigencias de los lectores le estimuló a escribir otra novela de Holmes en 1901-1902, El sbueso de los Baskerville, antes de “El problema final”. Al año siguiente, una nueva serie, El regreso de Sherlock Holmes, comienza con la continuación de “El problema final”, en donde se revela que Holmes realmente sobrevivió. “La aventura de la caja de cartón” no se publicó en la primera edición británica de Las memorias de Sherlock Holmes, pero sí en la primera edición estadounidense, aunque fue rápidamente eliminada debido a su controvertido tema. La historia se volvió a publicar más tarde en las ediciones estadounidenses de Su última reverencia y se incluyó en las ediciones británicas de las Memorias. Incluso hoy en día, la mayoría de las ediciones estadounidenses del canon lo incluyen en Su última reverencia , mientras que la mayoría de las ediciones británicas mantienen la historia en su lugar original, dentro de las Memorias.

“Estrella de Plata” se publicó en el Reino Unido en The Strand Magazine en diciembre de 1892, y en los Estados Unidos en la edición estadounidense de The Strand en enero de 1893. Posteriormente fue recogido en la colección Las memorias de Sherlock Holmes. Doyle incluyó a “Estrella de Plata” en el puesto 13 en la lista de sus 19 relatos favoritos de Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes y su socio el Dr. Watson viajan en tren a Dartmoor para investigar la desaparición del caballo de carreras Silver Blaze y el asesinato de su entrenador, John Straker. La historia es conocida por el diálogo entre Holmes y el inspector Gregory de Scotland Yard: ” –¿Existe algún detalle acerca del cual quisiera usted llamar mi atención?  –Si, sobre el curioso incidente del perro en la noche. –El perro no hizo nada durante la noche. –Ese fue precisamente el curioso incidente”, recalcó Sherlock Holmes.

“La caja de cartón” se publicó en el Reino Unido en The Strand Magazine en enero de 1893, y en los Estados Unidos en Harper’s Weekly el 14 de enero de 1893. No se publicó en la primera edición británica de Las memorias de Sherlock Holmes, pero apareció en la primera edición estadounidense, aunque se eliminó rápidamente debido a su controvertido tema. Actualmente, la mayoría de las ediciones en inglés lo mantienen en su lugar original en las Memorias, mientras que las ediciones estadounidenses lo incluyen en Su última reverencia. Holmes, Watson y Lestrade visitan a Susan Cushing, que acaba de recibir dos orejas humanas en una caja de cartón por correo. Lestrade de Scotland Yard sospecha que se trata de una broma de tres estudiantes de medicina a quienes la señorita Cushing se vio obligada a echar de su casa debido a su comportamiento. El paquete se envió desde Belfast, la ciudad natal de uno de los estudiantes. Después de examinar el paquete, Holmes está convencido de que es la pueba  de un delito grave.

“El rostro amarillo” se publicó en el Reino Unido en The Strand Magazine en febrero de 1893, y en los Estados Unidos en Harper’s Weekly el 11 de febrero de 1893. Más tarde se incluyó en Las memorias de Sherlock Holmes. Un hombre llamado Grant Munro le pide consejo a Holmes sobre el extraño comportamiento de su mujer, Effie. Viven en el campo cerca de Norbury. Un día Effie le pidió una gran cantidad de su dinero, pero ella se negó a darle ningún tipo de explicación. Unos días después, durante un paseo, Munro vio una misteriosa figura amarilla en la ventana de una casa de campo vecina y se sorprendió al ver a su mujer salir de la casa. Cuando regresaron a su casa, ella se negó a darle explicación alguna y Munro le prohibió acercarse a esa casa. Poco después, Munro regresó antes de lo esperado y su esposa no estaba en casa. Entonces decidió ir a la casa vecina, pero no había nadie más. No obstante, encontró una foto de su mujer sobre la chimenea.

“El oficinista del corredor de bolsa” se publicó en el Reino Unido en The Strand Magazine en marzo de 1893 y en los Estados Unidos en Harper’s Weekly el 11 de marzo de 1893. Posteriormente se incluyó en Las memorias de Sherlock Holmes. La empresa Woodhouse & Coxon ha cerrado. El Sr. Hall Pycroft pierde su trabajo y se encuentra buscando uno nuevo en la City. Cuando estaba al borde de la desesperación, una importante empresa, Mawson & William’s lo contrata. El fin de semana antes de comenzar en su nuevo puesto, Pycroft recibe la visita de un hombre llamado Arthur Pinner que le ofrece un mejor salario y un anticipo por un trabajo en Franco-Midland Hardware Company Ltd. Tentado por esta nueva oferta, acepta con la condición de que no debe comunicar su renuncia a Mawson & William’s y firma un documento reconociendo que se convierte en el nuevo Gerente de Ventas de Franco-Midland. Cuando el Sr. Pycroft llega a las instalaciones temporales de la empresa en Birmingham, es recibido por el hermano del Sr. Pinner, pero le preocupa el aspecto poco profesional del negocio. Cuando observa que los hermanos Pinners tienen un empaste dorado distintivo en el mismo diente, comienza a sospechar de que son la misma persona y recurre a Sherlock Holmes en busca de consejo.

“La corbeta Gloria Scott” se publicó en el Reino Unido en The Strand Magazine en abril de 1893, y en los Estados Unidos en Harper’s Weekly el 15 de abril de 1893. Más tarde se incluyó en Las memorias de Sherlock Holmes. Cronológicamente es el primer caso en el canon de Sherlock Holmes. La historia está narrada por el propio Holmes. En esta historia, Holmes aplica por primera vez sus poderes de deducción. Todavía es un estudiante cuando es invitado por su amigo Victor Trevor a casa de su padre en Donnithorpe, Norfolk. Un día, un extraño antiguo conocido de su padre llamado Hudson viene a visitarlo, pero Holmes tiene que regresar a Londres. Dos meses después, Víctor le pide que regrese. Hudson ha ejercido una muy mala influencia sobre su padre. De hecho, su salud se ha deteriorado tanto que ya está muerto cuando llega Holmes. Antes de morir, le contó a su hijo que escribió la historia de lo sucedido en su vida anterior, lo que explicaría todo lo ocurrido ahora.

“El ritual de los Musgrave” se publicó por primera vez en el Reino Unido en The Strand Magazine en mayo de 1893, y en los Estados Unidos en Harper’s Weekly el 13 de mayo de 1893. Más tarde se incluyó en Las memorias de Sherlock Holmes. Holmes le cuenta a Watson una de sus primeras investigaciones. Un amigo de la escuela, Reginald Musgrave, le contó a Holmes sus problemas con su mayordomo, Brunton. Reginald lo sorprendió rebuscando en los papeles privados de su familia y con el ritual ancestral de los Musgraves en sus manos, una reliquia considerada sin valor por los Musgraves. Unos días después de este incidente, Brunton desapareció, así como una criada llamada Rachel Howells.

“Los hacendados de Reigate” se publicó en el Reino Unido en The Strand Magazine en junio de 1893, y en los Estados Unidos en Harper’s Weekly el 17 de junio de 1893. Más tarde se incluyó en Las memorias de Sherlock Holmes. Watson lleva a Holmes a la finca de un amigo cerca de Reigate en Surrey para descansar después de un caso bastante agotador en Francia. Su anfitrión es el coronel Hayter. Cuando llegaron a Surrey, se enteraron de que recientemente hubo un robo en la finca cercana de los Acton en el que los ladrones se llevaron una gran variedad de cosas, pero nada terriblemente valioso. Entonces, una mañana, el mayordomo del coronel llegó con la noticia de que en una finca cercana, William Kirwan, el cochero de los Cunningham, fue encontrado asesinado.

“La aventura del jorobado” se publicó en el Reino Unido en The Strand Magazine en julio de 1893, y en Estados Unidos en Harper’s Weekly el 8 de julio de 1893. Posteriormente se incluyó en Las memorias de Sherlock Holmes. Holmes llama a Watson para contarle un caso en el que ha estado trabajando ultimamente para que presencie las etapa final de la investigación. El caso trata del asesinato del coronel Barclay, comandante del Royal Mallows Regiment en Aldershot. Dos días antes, la señora Barclay al volver a casa tuvo una pelea con su marido. Los sirvientes escucharon la pelea a través de la pequeña puerta de la sala, luego un grito y después silencio. El cochero intentó entrar, pero la puerta estaba cerrada por dentro, por lo que dio la vuelta al jardín y entró en la habitación por una cristalera. Encontró el cuerpo del coronel tirado en el suelo, rígido y muerto. La Sra. Barclay estaba inconsciente en el sofá. Su primera intención fue abrir la puerta al resto del servicio, pero la llave no estaba en la puerta y no la pudo encontrar. También encontró un arma extraña en forma de porra cerca del cuerpo. La policía sospechó de inmediato que la Sra. Barclay había asesinado a su esposo.

“El paciente interno” se publicó en el Reino Unido en The Strand Magazine en agosto de 1893, y en los Estados Unidos en Harper’s Weekly el 12 de agosto de 1893. Más tarde se incluyó en Las memorias de Sherlock Holmes. El doctor Percy Trevelyan le trae a Holmes un problema poco corriente. Habiendo sido un estudiante brillante pero un hombre pobre, se convierte en partícipe de un acuerdo comercial poco común. Un hombre llamado Blessington, que afirma tener algo de dinero para invertir, ha instalado a Trevelyan en un local con una dirección prestigiosa y le paga todos sus gastos. A cambio, exige tres cuartas partes de todo el dinero que gane en su consulta. Resulta que Blessington está enfermo y le gusta tener un médico siempre cerca. Sin embargo, Holmes tiene que averiguar por qué el paciente interno está tan preocupado.

“El intérprete griego” se publicó en el Reino Unido en The Strand Magazine en septiembre de 1893, y en los Estados Unidos en Harper’s Weekly el 16 de septiembre de 1893. Más tarde se incluyó en Las memorias de Sherlock Holmes. La historia se conoce porque en ella Doyle nos presenta al hermano mayor de Holmes, Mycroft. Además, Doyle calificó esta historia como la decimoséptima en una lista de sus diecinueve historias favoritas de Sherlock Holmes. En esta ocasión, Mycroft consulta a Sherlock sobre una experiencia bastante desconcertante por la que ha pasado recientemente su vecino el Sr. Melas, un intérprete griego.

“El tratado naval” se publicó en el Reino Unido en The Strand Magazine en octubre y noviembre de 1893, y en los Estados Unidos en Harper’s Weekly el 14 y 21 de octubre de 1893. Más tarde se incluyó en Las memorias de Sherlock Holmes. Doyle calificó esta historia en el puesto 19 en la lista de sus 19 historias favoritas de Sherlock Holmes. El Dr. Watson le pide a Holmes que ayude a su antiguo compañero de colegio, Percy Phelps, que se encuentra en una situación difícil. Phelps, sobrino de Lord Holdhurst y con un futuro prometedor en el Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, ha visto frustradas sus esperanzas. Un importante tratado naval ha desaparecido misteriosamente mientras lo copiaba en su oficina de Whitehall. Todos desconocían que el tratado estaba en su poder y, al parecer, no había nadie en el edificio, pero el valioso documento ha desaparecido. Cuando Holmes y Watson van a la casa de Phelps, él se está recuperando del ataque de nervios causado por este desafortunado incidente que significa su ruina tanto profesional como social.

“El problema final” se publicó en el Reino Unido en The Strand Magazine en diciembre de 1893, y en los Estados Unidos en McClure’s en el mismo mes. Más tarde se incluyó en Las memorias de Sherlock Holmes. Ambientada en 1891, la historia presenta al archienemigo de Holmes, el cerebro criminal profesor Moriarty. Conan Doyle, en su lista de sus doce mejores historias de Sherlock Holmes, situó “El problema final” en el cuarto lugar. Cuando comienza la historia, Holmes le dice a Watson que Moriarty es el genio detrás de una fuerza criminal altamente organizada y extremadamente secreta y que si pudiera vencer a ese hombre, si pudiera liberar a la sociedad de él, sentiría que su propia carrera había llegado a su cima.

Mi opinión: He disfrutado mucho leyendo los relatos de Sherlock Holmes de Doyle. Aunque Las Memorias no están a la altura de Las Aventuras, hay algunos relatos francamente interesantes entre los que detacaría, para mi gusto: “Estrella de Plata”, “El ritual de los Musgrave”, “La aventura del jorobado” y “El problema final”

Acerca del autor: Arthur Conan Doyle, su nombre completo Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, (nacido el 22 de mayo de 1859, Edimburgo, Escocia, fallecido el 7 de julio de 1930, Crowborough, Sussex, Inglaterra), fue un escritor escocés más conocido por su creación del detective Sherlock Holmes, uno de los personajes más vivos y permanetes de la novela inglesa. Mientras estudiaba medicina, Conan Doyle quedó profundamente impresionado por la habilidad de su profesor, el Dr. Joseph Bell, al observar los detalles más minuciosos con respecto a la condición de un paciente. Este maestro de la deducción aplicada a sus diagnósticos se convirtió en el modelo de la creación literaria de Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, quien apareció por primera vez en A Study in Scarlet, una narración larga, publicada en el Beeton’s Christmas Annual de 1887. Empujado por el fervor del público, Conan Doyle continuó escribiendo aventuras de Sherlock Holmes hasta 1926. (Fuente; Britannica)

Arthur Conan Doyle escribió 62 historias de Sherlock Holmes publicadas entre 1887 y 1927. Las 62 historias incluyen 4 novelas [Estudio en escarlata (1887); El signo de los cuatro (1890); El sabueso de los Baskerville (1901 – 1902); El valle del terror (1914 – 1915)] y 58 relatos publicados en revistas del Reino Unido y de los Estados Unidos. Y recopilados en colecciones de relatos [Las aventuras de Sherlock Holmes 12 relatos (1892); Las memorias de Sherlock Holmes 12 relatos (1894); El regreso de Sherlock Holmes 13 relatos (1905); Su última reverencia 7 relatos (1917); El archivo de Sherlock Holmes 12 relatos (1927) y dos relatos: “The Field Bazaar” (1896) and “How Watson Learned the Trick” (1924).

Pat McGerr (1917 – 1985)

mcgerrA fourth-generation Nebraska daughter, Patricia “Pat” McGerr (December 26, 1917 – May 11, 1985) made her literary reputation as the writer of seventeen novels (most of them mysteries, but a few telling stories of women of the early Catholic Church), and more than fifty short stories. She won an Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine/MWA prize for her 1968 story “Match Point in Berlin,” the Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere in 1952 for her 1951 novel Follow, As the Night, and her first novel, Pick Your Victim (1946), was selected as one of the Fifty Classics of Crime Fiction, 1900-1950.

Although she was born in Falls City, Nebraska, her family settled in Lincoln, where McGerr graduated from UN-L with a Bachelor of Arts. Her mother was one of the seven Dore sisters, well known in Lincoln, and this is alluded to jokingly in the title to one of her first books, The Seven Deadly Sisters (1947). After graduation, Patricia and her three sisters moved to Washington, D.C. and eventually New York City.

Earning a masters in journalism at Columbia University in 1937, she worked in public relations and as an assistant editor of an industry magazine in New York City. In her thirteenth novel, she had finally reclaimed her full first name — Patricia. “My publisher thought that the name ‘Pat’ sounded masculine and many male readers of mysteries would be put off by a woman author of such fiction unless she were a Mignon Eberhart or an Agatha Christie.” A television series, based on McGerr’s recurring character, Selena Mead, starring Polly Bergen, was planned for CBS Television in 1965-66 but never got to the air. Patricia McGerr died May 11, 1985 in Bethesda, Maryland, at the age of 67. (Source: City of Lincoln Nebraska Libraries)

McGerr is principally known for having created a hitherto-unknown twist on the traditional whodunnit. Her best-known novel, Pick Your Victim (1946), tells the story of a small group of American soldiers in an isolated Arctic base who are desperate for reading material and diversion. They find a torn scrap of newspaper which has arrived as the cushioning for a parcel. The torn scrap tells part of the story of a man who has been convicted of a murder, and who is known personally by one of the GIs—the murderer is identified, but the name of the victim has been torn away. The GIs form a betting pool and pump their informant for every bit of information about any potential victim to enable them to better place their bets, and the story told by the informant is the body of the novel. At the end, the name of the victim is revealed. McGerr’s other novels were sometimes ingenious but rarely commercially successful. The Seven Deadly Sisters (1947) attempts a similar inversion of the whodunnit formula, with less success. Near the end of her writing career, McGerr created a continuing character, Selena Mead, who became involved in espionage-based plots in and around Washington, D.C. (Source: Wikipedia)

Bibliography: Pick Your Victim (1946); The Seven Deadly Sisters (1947); Catch Me if You Can (1948); Save the Witness (1949); Follow, As the Night (1949) aka Your Loving VictimDeath in a Million Living Rooms (1951) aka Die Laughing; Fatal in My Fashion (1954); Is There a Traitor in the House? (1965); Murder is Absurd (1967); Stranger with My Face (1968); For Richer For Poorer Till Death (1969); Legacy of Danger (1970); Daughter of Darkness (1974); Dangerous Landing (1975) (Source: Golden Age of Detection Wiki)

To the best of my knowledge Pat McGerr books are out of print, difficult to find in the second hand market at a decent price and no electronic editions exist.

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(Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC. Collins The Crime Club (UK) 1947)

Synopsis: A group of Marines in the Aleutians learn of a murder from an incomplete newspaper. They know who confessed to the crime but not the identity of the victim. Pete, one of the Marines once knew the suspects. They have a lottery based on the victim’s identity while Pete tells what he remembers about them.

Pick Your Victim has been reviewed, among others, by Marvin Lachman at Mystery File, TomCat at Beneath the Stains of Time, Xavier Lechard at Golden Age of Detection Wiki, Pietro De Palma at Death Can Read, Noah Stewart at Noah’s Archive, Rusty at Justice for the Corpse, Kate Jackson at Cross-examining Crime, and Jim Noy at The Invisible Event.

Patricia McGerr by Micahel E.Grost

Mapback

8621d698f6fe220fbb87e6342111b310dell0212backMapback is a term used by paperback collectors to refer to the earliest paperback books published by Dell Books, beginning in 1943. The books are known as mapbacks because the back cover of the book contains a map that illustrates the location of the action. Dell books were numbered in series. Mapbacks extend from #5 to at least #550; then maps became less of a fixed feature of the books and disappeared entirely in 1951. (Numbers 1 through 4 had no map, although a later re-publication of #4, The American Gun Mystery by Ellery Queen, added a map.) The occasional number in the series between #5 and #550 contains no map, but some sort of full-page graphic or text connected with the book’s contents. … the Dell ‘mapbacks’ are among the most well known vintage paperbacks.

I wasn’t aware what the term “mapback” really meant until I came across the book I’m reading right now: Helen McCloy “Cue for Murder” Dell Mapback #212. And I thought it was worth sharing it for those who might not be  familiar with this term.

My Book Notes: The Rising of the Moon, 1945 (Mrs Bradley #18) by Gladys Mitchell

Esta entrada es bilingüe. Desplazarse hacia abajo para acceder a la versión en español

Thomas & Mercer, 2014. Book Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 4280 KB. Print Length: 281 Pages. ASIN: B00IEIIOA8. ISBN-13: 978-1-4778-1888-6. First published in Great Britain by Michael Joseph, 1945. 

51GCGJJ0BILSynopsis: Could there be a Jack-the-Ripper copycat in the sleepy village of Brentford? Two women have been found brutally murdered, each under the light of a full moon. When a third mutilated body is identified, brothers Simon and Keith Innes discover that their brother Jack was mysteriously absent from their home on that last moonlit night. After Jack’s snob’s knife goes missing from his tool box, Simon and Keith have no choice but to investigate and clear his name. With the help of the peculiar amateur detective Mrs. Bradley, the brothers race to find answers…before the rising of another full moon. The belovedly eccentric Mrs. Bradley and her ingenious sleuthing are sure to impress in this cleverly woven classic. You’ll never guess who lurks in the shadows—and why.

My Take: The story is narrated from the perspective of Simon Innes, a thirteen-year-old boy. Simon lives together with his younger brother Keith, aged eleven, in Brentford, now-a-days a suburban town in West London, where the story takes place. They are orphans in care of their older brother Jack who lives with his wife June, their three-year-old son Tom and Christina, a lodger whom June is jealous of because of her beauty. Although published in 1945, the story takes place some years before the outbreak of WW II. When the story begins, Simon and Keith are enjoying their Easter holidays, wandering unsupervised through town in search of adventure. A small antique and junk shop, sometimes displaying  weapons like daggers, swords and old horse-pistols, is their favourite spot to play. A queer old woman, in charge of the shop, lets them come in and touch whatever takes their fancy. She addresses them always formally, him as Mr Innes and his brother like Mr Keith.

Brentford’s carefree life is disrupted one day when a Jack-the-Ripper style serial killer begins murdering young women on full moon nights. Simon and Keith find it an opportunity to deploy their skills as sleuths and they get to work on the case. However, one day they will be shocked with one of their findings. Just after the discovery of a third victim, they begin to suspect that their own brother, Jack, might be the murderer, and they are determined to do whatever it takes to help him. This is the moment when Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley shows up in Brentford and, despite their initial reticence, the two brother gain her trust and decide to help her.

My interest in this novel arose as a consequence of the conference Bodies from the Library this year. The story was among the suggested readings and, so far, my knowledge of Gladys Mitchell works was limited only to The Saltmarsh Murders. For lack of a better term, The Rising of the Moon is a detective novel that could well be described as peculiar. It’s peculiar in the sense that the narrator is a thirteen-year-old boy, in that despite being published in 1945 the action takes place sometime before WW II, and because Mrs Bradley appears almost half way through the novel in what could be considered a secondary role. It turns out being curious to highlight that even though the story revolves around a serial killer, it’s extremely original given the choice of the leading role and narrator of the story. A choice not without risk that clearly reflects the spirit of innovation in Gladys Mitchell’s novels. She not only comes out with success of this challenge, but she writes her best novel in accordance with some reviewers. And I won’t be who will question it.

The Rising of the Moon has been reviewed, among others, by Les Blatt at Classic Mysteries, Nick Fuller at Golden Age of Detection Wiki, Patrick Ohl At the Scene of the Crime, Jason Half at The Stone House, and Moira at Clothes In Books.

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(Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets, LLC. Michael Joseph (UK) 1945)

About the Author: Gladys Maude Winifred Mitchell was an English author best known for her character of  Mrs Bradley, the heroine of 66 detective novels. She also wrote under the pseudonyms Stephen Hockaby and Malcolm Torrie. Gladys Mitchell was born in Cowley, near Oxford on 19 April 1901 to James Mitchell, a market gardener of Scottish parentage, and his wife Annie. She was educated at Rothschild School, Brentford and The Green School, Isleworth, before attending Goldsmiths College and University College London from 1919 to 1921. Upon her graduation, Mitchell became a teacher of history, English and games at St Paul’s School, Brentford until 1925. She then taught at St Ann’s Senior Girls School, Hanwell until 1939. In 1926 she obtained an external diploma in European History from University College, and she then began writing novels while continuing to teach. In 1941 she joined Brentford Senior Girls School, where she stayed until 1950. After a three-year break from teaching, she took a job at Matthew Arnold School, Staines, where she taught English and history, coached hurdling and wrote the annual school play until her retirement to Corfe Mullen, Dorset in 1961, where she lived until her death on 27 July 1983, aged 82.

Although primarily remembered for her mystery novels, Mitchell also published ten children’s books under her own name, historical fiction under the pseudonym Stephen Hockaby, and more detective fiction under the pseudonym Malcolm Torrie. She also wrote a great many short stories, all of which were first published in the Evening Standard. She was an early member of the Detection Club along with G. K. Chesterton, Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers and throughout the 1930s was considered to be one of the “Big Three women detective writers”, but she often challenged and mocked the conventions of the genre – notably in her earliest books, such as the first novel Speedy Death (1929), where there is a particularly surprising twist to the plot, or her parodies of Christie in The Mystery of a Butcher’s Shop (1929) and The Saltmarsh Murders (1932). She was a member of the Middlesex Education Association, the British Olympic Association, the Crime Writers’ Association, PEN and the Society of Authors. In 1976 she was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association Silver Dagger.

Selected bibliography: The Mystery of a Butcher’s Shop (1929), The Saltmarsh Murders (1932), Death at the Opera (1934), The Devil at Saxon Wall (1935), Come Away, Death (1937), Brazen Tongue (1940), When Last I Died (1941), The Rising of the Moon (1945), Death and the Maiden (1947), The Dancing Druids (1948), Tom Brown’s Body (1949), Groaning Spinney (1950), The Echoing Strangers (1952), Merlin’s Furlong (1953), Dance to Your Daddy (1969), Nest of Vipers (1979), and The Greenstone Griffins (1983).

A Gladys Mitchell Tribute Site has reviews of almost all the books in its Bibliography section.

The Stone House: A Gladys Mitchell Tribute Site

Artistic Difference: What makes GLADYS MITCHELL special?

Mary Jean DeMarr on Gladys Mitchell (1989)

Gladys Mitchell at Golden Age of Detection Wiki

Gladys Mitchell Obituary

Cuando sale la luna, de Gladys Mitchell (tr. Maria de los Angeles Via Rivera)

Spanish Translation 2012 Madrid: Fábulas de Albión, as Cuando sale la luna, tr. Maria de los Angeles Via Rivera.

9788493937928Sinopsis: ¿Podría existir un imitador de Jack el Destripador en el tranquilo pueblo de Brentford? Dos mujeres han aparecido brutalmente asesinadas, cada una bajo la luz de una noche de luna llena. Cuando aparece un tercer cuerpo mutilado, los hermanos Simon y Keith Innes descubren que su hermano Jack estaba misteriosamente ausente de su casa esa última noche de luna llena. Después de que la navaja snob de Jack desaparece de su caja de herramientas, Simon y Keith no tienen más remedio que investigar y limpiar su nombre. Con la ayuda de la peculiar detective aficionada Mrs. Bradley, los hermanos se apresuran a encontrar respuestas … antes de otra noche de luna llena. La ecantadoramente excéntrica Mrs. Bradley y su ingeniosa investigación seguramente impresionarán en este clásico inteligentemente entrelazado. Usted  nunca adivinará quién acecha en las sombras y por qué.

Mi opinión: La historia está narrada desde la perspectiva de Simon Innes, un niño de trece años. Simon vive con su hermano menor Keith, de once años, en Brentford, hoy una ciudad suburbana en el oeste de Londres, donde tiene lugar la historia. Son huérfanos al cuidado de su hermano mayor Jack, que vive con su esposa June, su hijo de tres años Tom y Christina, una inquilina de quien June siente celos por su belleza. Aunque se publicó en 1945, la historia tiene lugar algunos años antes del estallido de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Cuando comienza la historia, Simon y Keith disfrutan de sus vacaciones de Pascua, vagando sin supervisión por la ciudad en busca de aventuras. Una pequeña tienda de antigüedades y trastos viejos, que a veces exhibe armas como dagas, espadas y viejas pistolas de arzón, es su lugar favorito para jugar. Una extraña señora mayor, a cargo de la tienda, les deja entrar y tocar lo que les apetezca. Ella se dirige siempre a ellos de manera formal, a él como señor Innes y a su hermano como señor Keith.

La vida despreocupada de Brentford se ve interrumpida un día cuando un asesino en serie al estilo de Jack el Destripador comienza a asesinar a mujeres jóvenes en las noches de luna llena. Simon y Keith encuentran una oportunidad para desplegar sus habilidades como detectives y se ponen a trabajar en el caso. Sin embargo, un día se sorprenderán con uno de sus hallazgos. Justo después del descubrimiento de una tercera víctima, comienzan a sospechar que su propio hermano, Jack, podría ser el asesino, y están decididos a hacer lo que sea necesario para ayudarlo. Este es el momento en que Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley aparece en Brentford y, a pesar de su reticencia inicial, los dos hermanos se ganan su confianza y deciden ayudarla.

Mi interés por esta novela surgió como consecuencia de la conferencia Bodies from the Library de este año. La historia estaba entre las lecturas sugeridas y, hasta ahora, mi conocimiento de las obras de Gladys Mitchell se limitaba solo a The Saltmarsh Murders. A falta de un término mejor, The Rising of the Moon es una novela policíaca que bien podría describirse como peculiar. Es peculiar en el sentido de que el narrador es un niño de trece años, en que a pesar de estar publicada en 1945 la acción tiene lugar en algún momento anterior a la Segunda Guerra Mundial, y porque la Sra. Bradley aparece casi a la mitad de la novela en lo que podría considerarse un papel secundario. Resulta curioso resaltar que aunque la historia gira en torno a un asesino en serie, es sumamente original dada la elección del protagonista y narrador de la historia. Una elección no exenta de riesgos que refleja claramente el espíritu de innovación en las novelas de Gladys Mitchell. Ella no solo sale con éxito de este desafío, sino que escribe su mejor novela de acuerdo con algunos críticos. Y no seré yo quien lo ponga en duda.

Acerca del autor: Gladys Maude Winifred Mitchell fue una autora inglesa más conocida por su personaje de la señora Bradley, la heroína de 66 novelas de detectives. También escribió bajo los seudónimos de Stephen Hockaby y Malcolm Torrie. Gladys Mitchell nació en Cowley, cerca de Oxford, el 19 de abril de 1901, hija de James Mitchell, un horticultor de ascendencia escocesa, y de su mujer Annie. Fue educada en el Rothschild School, de Brentford y en el Green School, de Isleworth, antes de asistir al Goldsmiths College y al University College de Londres de 1919 a 1921. Tras su graduación, Mitchell pasó a ser profesora de historia, inglés y juegos en St Paul’s School, de Brentford hasta 1925. Luego enseñó en el St Ann’s Senior Girls School, de Hanwell hasta 1939. En 1926 se diplomó en Historia Europea por el University College, y luego comenzó a escribir novelas mientras continuaba enseñando. En 1941 formó parte del profesorado de la Brentford Senior Girls School, donde permaneció hasta 1950. Tras un descanso de tres años apartada de la docencia, aceptó un puesto en la escuela Matthew Arnold School, Staines, donde enseñó inglés e historia, fue entrenadora de carrera de vallas y escribió la obra de teatro anual de la escuela hasta que se retiró a Corfe Mullen, Dorset en 1961, donde vivió hasta su muerte el 27 de julio de 1983, a la edad de 82 años.

Aunque recordada principalmente por sus novelas de misterio, Mitchell también publicó diez libros para niños con su propio nombre, novelas históricas con el seudónimo de Stephen Hockaby y varias novelas policíacas mas con el seudónimo de Malcolm Torrie. También escribió una gran cantidad de relatos, todos ellos publicados por primera vez en el Evening Standard. Fue miembro del Detection Club junto con GK Chesterton, Agatha Christie y Dorothy L. Sayers y durante la década de 1930 se la consideró una de las “tres grandes escritoras poliíacas”, pero a menudo desafiaba y se burlaba de las convenciones del género, especialmente en sus primeros libros, como la primera novela Speedy Death (1929), donde hay un giro particularmente sorprendente en la trama, o sus parodias de Christie en The Mystery of a Butcher’s Shop (1929) y The Saltmarsh Murders (1932). Fue miembro de la Middlesex Education Society, de la British Olympic Association, de la Crime Writers’ Association, del PEN, y de la Sociedad de Autores. En 1976 recibió la Silver Dagger de la Crime Writers’ Association.

Bibliografía seleccionada: The Mystery of a Butcher’s Shop (1929), The Saltmarsh Murders (1932), Death at the Opera (1934), The Devil at Saxon Wall (1935), Come Away, Death (1937), Brazen Tongue (1940), When Last I Died (1941), The Rising of the Moon (1945) única obra de Gladys Mitchell disponible en español con el título de  Cuando sale la luna (Fábulas de Albión, 2012), Death and the Maiden (1947), The Dancing Druids (1948), Tom Brown’s Body (1949), Groaning Spinney (1950), The Echoing Strangers (1952), Merlin’s Furlong (1953), Dance to Your Daddy (1969), Nest of Vipers (1979), and The Greenstone Griffins (1983).

A Gladys Mitchell Tribute Site tiene reseñas de casi todos los libros en la sección Bibliografía.

Marta Marne en La Pared Vacía