For classic murder mystery readers, a scintillating anthology of lost treasures to read alongside Edgar Allan Poe and Sherlock Holmes
A Penguin Classic
For The Penguin Book of Murder Mysteries, writer and anthologist Michael Sims did not summon the usual suspects. He sought the unfamiliar, the unjustly forgotten, and little-known gems by writers from outside the genre. This historical tour of one of our most popular literary categories includes stories never before reprinted, features rebellious early “lady detectives," and spotlights former stars of the crime field—Austrian novelist Auguste Groner and prolific American Geraldine Bonner among them. For twenty-first century connoisseurs of crime, The Penguin Book of Murder Mysteries celebrates how the nineteenth century added a fierce modern twist to the ancient theme of bloody murder.
About the Author
Michael Sims is the author of Arthur and Sherlock, which was a finalist for the Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America, the Gold Dagger from the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain, and numerous other awards; Adam’s Navel, which was a New York Times Notable Book and a Library Journal Best Science Book; The Story of Charlotte's Web, which was chosen by the Washington Post and several other venues as a Best Book of the Year; and In the Womb: Animals, the companion book for the popular National Geographic Channel series. For Penguin Classics he has edited several anthologies, including The Annotated Archy and Mehitabel; Arsene Lupin, Gentleman-Thief; and The Penguin Book of Victorian Women in Crime. He writes regularly for the New York Times and other periodicals, and his work is widely translated around the world.
"Vintage gems. . . . Overlooked and underappreciated mystery stories from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries." —Sarah Weinman, The New York Times Book Review
★ "Stellar collection of 13 classic stories from lesser-known authors. . . . Throughout, Sims’s choices, which showcase his encyclopedic knowledge of mystery fiction, range from good to great, and place welcome focus on the historic contributions of women to the genre. Even the most well-read mystery fans have good reason to check this out." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Little-known whodunits, several of them published long before Sherlock Holmes first appeared...Sims is a kind of literary archaeologist, unearthing half-buried treasure." —Michael Dirda, Washington Post
"A must-read for any classic murder mystery fan." —Town & Country
"A deliberately broad cross-section . . . including a near-equal mix of male and female authors of varied backgrounds. . . . These contemporaries of Poe, Collins, and Doyle . . . created clever, memorable characters who employed the technologies of their era, thrilling readers with the awful crime, the cat-and-mouse chase, and the triumph of order over chaos." —Chris Scott, Chapter 16
"Entertaining, wide-ranging anthology . . . . Includes stories never before reprinted, rebellious early female detectives, and spotlights former stars of the crime field.” —Pamela Brown, The North Salem Post
“All the stories are by writers who, for the most part, remain either overlooked or underappreciated. . . . . Some stories are especially obscure and appear here in print for the first time since their original publication. . . . All show how the genre developed, with each writer introducing key ingredients that have become standard components. . . . Tension and excitement build to a neat denouement that brings, if not justice, then some semblance of resolution. . . . [Authors include] Pulitzer Prize winner Ellen Glasgow and pioneer black writer Charles W. Chesnutt. Both are welcome but surprise additions, as neither author is associated with the crime genre. Their respective stories — one examining ethical killing, the other the consequences of race murder — constitute fascinating forays into new territory.” —Malcolm Forbes, Washington Examiner