Wow! This door-stopper of a paperback, published by England's Wordsworth Editions in 2006, offers up a richly entertaining collection of 'Golden Age' detective stories written by a Who's Who of mystery fiction. Topping off at 1,276 pages, VINTAGE MYSTERY & DETECTIVE MYSTERIES belongs on the shelf of every fan of those marvelously entertaining fictional sleuths of yore.
Within the book's pages, readers will find 47 tales written by Poe, Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Mark Twain, G. K. Chesterton, Rudyard Kiping, Edgar Wallace and other authors that were published in various magazines from about the 1850s to the the mid-1930s. David Stuart Davies, who compiled the book, also contributed four of his own stories. Thus readers are treated to classic tales such as 'The Purloined Letter,' 'Silver Blaze,' 'The Missing Millionaire,' 'Tragedy at Brookbend Cottage,' 'The Green Mamba' and others featuring C. Auguste Dupin, Sherlock Holmes, Sexton Blake, blind detective Max Carrados, French detective Eugene Valmont, the beloved Father Brown, Malcolm Sage, the truly bizarre Prince Zaleski, Dr. Dollar and Miss Bracegirdle(!) not to mention the ten members of the Crime Club.
I had two small beefs about the book. First, although I enjoyed Davies' stories, I thought he should have just used stories penned during the Golden Age. Likewise, I wish he had arranged the tales in chronological order so the reader could see the progression in the genre...but that's just me.
In any case, if your familiarity with vintage detective fiction begins and ends with Conan Doyle, you really owe it to yourself to sample the fascinating characters found in VINTAGE & MYSTERY DETECTIVE STORIES. Keep a copy of it by your bedside, jump into the book at random, read and enjoy! Highly recommended.