Monday, November 29, 2021

Upcoming National Museum of Scotland exhibition.

Sketch of William Burke. From George MacGregor, The History of Burke and Hare and of the Resurrectionist Times (1884)
The National Museum of Scotland has announced the upcoming exhibition "Anatomy: A Matter of Death and Life" that will include infamous 19th-century murderers Burke and Hare.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

"Investigating Detectives" exhibition.

The National Centre for the Written Word in South Shields, England, is offering an online version of its exhibition "Investigating Detectives" (which will be on display until March 2022). Included are the expected Inspector Bucket, Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and Miss Marple but also children's mysteries, detectives on screen, subgenres such as hardboiled and Nordic noir, and forensic history.

Monday, November 15, 2021

LeRoy Lad Panek, 1943–2021.

Panek's last book
LeRoy Lad Panek, a longtime professor at McDaniel College (MD) and a distinguished mystery scholar, died November 5 of pancreatic cancer. His obituary was published in the Baltimore Sun

His last book is the newly published Nineteenth Century Detective Fiction: An Analytical History. His other works include the following:

  • Before Sherlock Holmes: How Magazines and Newspapers Invented the Detective Story

  • After Sherlock Holmes: The Evolution of British and American Detective Stories 1891–1914

  • The American Police Novel: A History (Edgar nominee)

  • Early American Detective Stories: An Anthology (ed. with Mary Bendel-Simso)

The Essential Elements of the Detective Story, 1820–1891 (coauthored with Bendel-Simso)

Introduction to the Detective Story (Edgar winner)

The Origins of the American Detective Story

Reading Early Hammett: A Critical Study of the Fiction Prior to The Maltese Falcon

Watteau's Shepherds: The Detective Novel in Britain 1914–1940 (Edgar nominee)

Panek's Westminster Detective Library (a project with Bendel-Simso) is an invaluable online repository of short detective works published in the United States prior to 1891.

Monday, November 08, 2021

Wordsworth blog: Collins, Le Fanu.

"These two figures crossed the floor diagonally." Illustration from Sheridan Le Fanu's "Mr. Justice Harbottle," Harper's Bazaar, February 1872. NYPL

Catching up with the blog on the Wordsworth Editions website:

  • David Stuart Davies discusses the career of Wilkie Collins: "Remarkably, The Moonstone received a somewhat cool reception from the critics. Even Collins’s friend Dickens was of the opinion that, ‘The construction is wearisome beyond endurance, and there is a vein of obstinate conceit in it that makes enemies of the readers.'"

  • Stephen Carter examines the work of legendary Irish ghost story writer Sheridan Le Fanu: "Le Fanu’s reputation was crowded out of Victorian literature by his contemporaries, Dickens, Thackeray, Wilkie Collins, and the Bront√ęs; all of whom he in some form influenced and whose sales he frequently rivalled."

I'm looking forward to Davies's upcoming post on Edgar Wallace.

Monday, November 01, 2021

Exhibition on race and dime novels.

West Virginia University's Downtown Library is offering the new online exhibition "American Dime Novel: Racialization/Erasure" that focuses on ethnic and racial stereotypes in dime novels. Mystery-related items include the following:

Also included: Maum Guinea and Her Plantation Children (1861) by Metta Fuller Victor, which had a similar effect in Britain about the evils of slavery that Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin had in the United States. Victor wrote the first U.S. detective novel: The Dead Letter (1864).

Nancy Caronia, the curator of the exhibition and a teaching associate professor in WVU's Department of English, will be giving a free, virtual presentation about the exhibition on November 4.