Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shorts: Withers, Jolnes & Gubb


My main reason for joining the ranks of Kindle owners was so that I could read moldy oldie fiction archived at sites like Project Gutenberg, Gaslight and so on. After firing up the Fire I navigated there forthwith and downloaded a few stories. Since I've been meaning to read Stuart Palmer for a while I also grabbed a short story from the Kindle store (and have since added a paperback copy of Murder on the Blackboard to the TBR stack).

The Riddle of the Blue Blood Murders
By Stuart Palmer
1934


I've watched a number of movies that featured Palmer's schoolteacher detective Hildegarde Withers but this is the first time I've read any of the fiction Palmer wrote about her. This one's a brief story that concerns a rash of dog poisonings, which leads Miss Withers to go undercover at a prominent dog show. More dogs are bumped off before it's all said and done and so is a human type person. Not bad, although the limited number of suspects made it fairly easy to sort out who done it.

Philo Gubb's Greatest Case
By Ellis Parker Butler
1915


It is not at all usual for a young husband to leave home for several days and then in cold blood sew himself in a sack and jump into the river.

Philo Gubb is an Iowa-based paper hanger and detective. Butler first started writing about this popular character in 1913 and continued for two decades. As the quotation listed above suggests Gubb is trying to solve a murder in which a man is found sewn into a sack at the bottom of a river. He is dead, as you might have guessed. This is the first of the Gubb stories I've read thus far but I'm guessing that they all take a fairly comic tone, with Philo being a bit of a bumbler who eventually manages to work things out.

The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes
By O. Henry
1911


I haven't read too many short Holmes parodies but the ones I have read seem to like to make sport of the great detective's fabulous powers of deduction. Which is about all this short tidbit from O. Henry does. It's amusing enough but not so much that I'd read another Jolnes story, if there are any.

3 comments:

  1. The Crippen & Landru collection 'Hildegarde Withers: Uncollected Riddles' is worth exploring if you are interested in Stuart Palmer. Somehow, I prefer the short stories to his novels. This collection has a few gems - including a few locked room and impossible crimes.

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  2. If you haven't read any Paul Halter short stories, I noticed several are out for the Kindle now. Definitely worth it, especially since NIGHT OF THE WOLF is so hard to find in English (or in French, for that matter!).

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  3. I've read exactly one Paul Halter story thus far, but this will be a good opportunity to check out some more.

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