Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Not by Holmes Alone

Sharon Wildwind

We often forget is that Sherlock Holmes’ stories didn’t fill each and every issue of The Strand. One of the reasons that Arthur Conan Doyle was so successful is that detective fiction, thrillers, and spy stories were immensely popular in Britain. Given below are a list of 17 authors who were as popular, or in some cases more popular than the residents of 221 B Baker Street.

How many of these authors can you match with the information given below? Answers at the end of the blog. (No peeking)

1-Adalbert Goldscheider/Austrian (Viennese sleuth Dagobert Trostler)

2-Arthur Morrison/British (detective Martin Hewitt)

3-Baron Palle Rosenkrantz/Danish (Lieutenant Holst, Danish police detective)

4-C. J. Cutcliffe Hyne/British (ship's purser Mr. Horrocks)

5-E. Phillips Oppenheim/British (John Laxworthy, reformed crook)

6-Ernest Bramah/British (Max Carrados)

7-Fergusson Wright Hume/New Zealand (Hagar Stanley, the Gypsy detective)

8-George Griffith/British (Inspector Lipinzki)

9-Guy Boothby/Australian (Simon Carne)

10-Jacques Futrelle/British (Professor Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen)

11-L. T. Meade/Irish (Madames Koluchy and Sara)

12-R. Austin Freeman/British (forensic detective Dr Thorndyke)

13-Robert Barr/British-Canadian (Eugene Valmont, French private investigator)

14-Robert Eustace/British (trade investigator Dixon Druce)

15-The Baroness Orczy/Hungarian, living in England (Polly Burton; Lady Molly of Scotland Yard)

16-William Hope Hodgson/British (Carnacki)

17-William Le Queux/Anglo-French (Duckworth Drew of the Secret Service)

a) Created a detective who thought like Holmes but was also ordinary, short, good tempered, and gladly cooperated with the police.

b) He collaborated with Dorothy Sayers on The Documents in the Case.

c) He created a detective who was every bit as smart as Holmes, but unlike Holmes was lively, interested in the social scene and fascinated by the romantic entanglements of the nobility.

d) He published the first Holmes parodies, entitled “The Adventures of Sherlaw Kombs” and “The Adventure of the Second Swag.”

e) He was the earliest writer of spy fiction as understood today, and invented the rogue male school of adventure thrillers.

f) He wrote over 150 novels dealing with spies, international intrigue, and the possibility of Germany invading England before World War I began.

g) Her detective recognized domestic clues foreign to male experience. She entered police work to save her fiancé from a false accusation. Once she accomplished that, she very properly married and left the police force.

h) His detective was a ghost hunter, and both the occult and life at sea figured prominently in his work.

i) His detective was methodical and intelligent, though not brilliant.

j) His gentleman-thief preceded the more famous Raffles by two years.

k) His The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (1886), became the best selling mystery novel of the 19th century.

l) Issues of the Strand magazine featuring his blind detective frequently outsold issues featuring Sherlock Holmes. George Orwell acknowledged one of his speculative fiction books influenced the writing of Nineteen Eighty-Four.

m) Many of his adventure tales involved futuristic air warfare reminiscent of the current steampunk stories.

n) Many of his stories are set in the South Pacific.

o) Raymond Chandler wrote of him, “ . . . a wonderful performer. He has no equal in his genre ... There is even a gaslight charm about his Victorian love affairs, and those wonderful walks across London ...”

p) She featured women masterminds, who ran criminal gangs

q) This author died on the Titanic, after giving up his space on a lifeboat.

For extra points:
Two of these detectives wrote as a team. Which two?

One of these writers has to have the longest name of any mystery writer ever. Which one?

Ready for the answers? Here they are.

Adalbert Goldscheider’s detective was smart and loved the end-of-the century social life in Vienna.

Arthur Morrison felt that Martin Hewitt would work equally well as a kinder, gentler detective.

Baron Palle Rosenkrantz’s police detective was an ordinary man simply doing his duty.

Most of C. J. Cutcliffe Hyne’s stories were set in the South Pacific.

Blame E. Phillips Oppenheim for all those rogue male adventure thrillers, and quite a few spy stories as well.

Ernest Bramah wrote his blind detective with sympathy and understanding. The author was also an accomplished futurist.

Fergusson Wright Hume wrote the best selling mystery novel of the 19th century.

George Griffith wrote lots of futuristic war-in-the-sky stories.

Guy Boothby created a gentleman, who unfortunately, was also a thief.

His wife’s last sight of him was smoking a cigar with John Jacob Astor on the deck of the Titanic.

Her real name was Elizabeth Thomasina Meade Smith and she co-wrote a series of books with Robert Eustace.

Raymond Chandler said a great many complimentary things about R. Austin Freeman’s work.

Robert Barr wrote the first of innumerable parodies sending up Sherlock Holmes.

Robert Eustace was a great friend of Dorothy Sayers and her collaborator on a non-Peter Whimsey book.

The Baroness Orczy also wrote The Scarlet Pimpernel series.

William Hope Hodgson, like Conan Doyle, had a great interest in the occult and the supernatural.

William Le Queux was fascinated by conspiracy theories and tried unsuccessfully to warn the public about the danger Germany posed to Britain

Extra points:
L. T. Meade and Robert Eustace were the writing duo.

Baroness Emma Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála, Emmuska Orczy de Orczi has to be the longest author’s name. How would you like to have to squeeze that onto a book jacket?
Quote for the week:
Irene Adler: Why are you always so suspicious?
Sherlock Holmes: Should I answer chronologically or alphabetically?
~Okay, so it’s from the movie, but I still thought it was funny


Paul Lamb said...

And yet, Sherlock Holmes outlasted all of them.

I have a five-book set of these Rivals of Sherlock Holmes stories, and they are fascinating to read just for a glimpse into the era. BBC did a television version of many of them back in the distant '70s, also for a glimpse into that era. They're available on DVD.

Sheila Connolly said...

This is wonderful information.

But doesn't it make you wonder what it was about Conan Doyle and the Holmes books that rose above all the competition? Any suggestions?

Julia Buckley said...

Wow--those were difficult! But some good sources when I'm looking for books. Thanks!

Sandra Parshall said...

It's always a little sad to look back at writers who were popular in their day... and realize that few people alive today would recognize their names. There's a lesson in that for all of us.

Sharon Wildwind said...

I don't know why Holmes has lasted so long. Certainly other works by Doyle haven't fared as well, and he wasn't using any particular literary devices that other authors didn't use. It's solid writing, which is a big plus. I wonder how much is a publishing thing that results in reprint after reprint.

Sandra, I agree with you. It is sad how many writers fade away in a mere hundred years, and I'm not being snide about that. A hundred years isn't that long in the annals of literature.

kathy d. said...

This is fascinating. Never heard of most of these writers.

Sherlock Holmes was one of the first detective series I read, as a teen-ager.

I suggest Emma de Orczi as a shorthand name for the baroness.