GIVING UP THE GHOSTS: SHORT-LIVED OCCULT
DETECTIVE SERIES BY SIX RENOWNED AUTHORS
TIM PRASIL, ED.
While Sherlock Holmes pooh-poohed the notion that the supernatural could invade our daily lives, not all fictional detectives have. There is a long history of literary sleuths who accept the reality of those supernatural intrusions in order to solve a case—be it a haunting or a crime. There are also characters who rely on their own supernatural abilities in their battle against lawbreakers. These are the occult detectives.
Bram Stoker’s Dr. Van Helsing, Algernon Blackwood’s John Silence, William Hope Hodgson’s Carnacki, and Seabury Quinn’s Jules de Grandin are among the best remembered of the first wave of occult detectives. Their adventures were enough to fill books, though. Some of their colleagues lasted only for two, three, or four stories. These are the short-series occult detectives, and they come together here for the first time. Fitz-James O’Brien’s Harry Escott, Gelett Burgess’s Enoch Garrish, Algernon Blackwood’s Jim Shorthouse, L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace’s Diana Marburg, A.M. Burrage’s Derek Scarpe, and Conrad Richter’s Matson Bell unravel sixteen dark mysteries in this collection. Tim Prasil, who has re-written the history of this blending of mystery and supernatural fiction, introduces the book and each author/detective while supplying useful and interesting footnotes along the way.
Giving Up the Ghosts belongs on the shelf of any occult-detective fiction connoisseur—or in the hands of readers eager to discover this exciting cross-genre.
THOSE WHO HAUNT GHOSTS: A CENTURY OF GHOST HUNTER FICTION
TIM PRASIL, ED.
The mid-1800s to the early 1900s was a high point for literary ghost stories. A sub-genre of this writing is ghost hunter fiction, in which a character not personally haunted investigates a house, a room, or some other site reported to be visited by a ghost. Sometimes, a doubtful ghost hunter hopes to debunk those rumors. Other times, a hopeful hunter wants to confirm that the dead really do return in spirit form.
No matter the motivation, ghost hunters never know what they’ll discover. Skeptics are converted while believers confront a supernatural entity that’s far worse than a mere ghost. And some ghost hunters don’t survive their encounter with the otherworld!
This collection of ghost hunter fiction—28 short stories and novellas from the 1820s to the 1920s—includes such renowned authors as Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Henry James, Charlotte Riddell, Ambrose Bierce, H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, Algernon Blackwood, Rudyard Kipling, Sax Rohmer, and H.P. Lovecraft. With an enlightening introduction and helpful footnotes provided by supernatural fiction scholar Tim Prasil, this book is a first-of-its-kind source for this distinctive branch of ghost fiction and will be a treasured addition to any ghost-story library.
These six stories are the full collection of tales involving Algernon Blackwood's best-known protagonist, John Silence. Sometimes called supernatural mysteries, these are less mystery than adventurous encounters with strange phenomena, often in the battle of good vs evil.
THE DYSON CHRONICLES: THE INMOST HAND / THE
SHINING PYRAMID / THE RED HAND / THE THREE IMPOSTERS
Arthur Machen’s occult investigator, Dyson, features in three short stories and the longer narrative, The Three Impostors. Dyson is not a professional detective, but has a keen interest in mysterious events. He investigates strange deaths and disappearances, and encounters weird beings and secret orders. Machen creates a world layered with shadows and wrapped in illusions, requiring all of Dyson’s skill to ferret out reality, however strange it turns out to be. But will he find the truth in time?
SUPERNATURAL DETECTIVES 1: CARNACKI: GHOST
FINDER / JOHN BELL: GHOST EXPOSER
WILLIAM HOPE HODGSON / L. T. MEADE & ROBERT
The supernatural detective was created through the early merging of scientific deductive mystery stories and the tales of hauntings and otherworldly horrors.
These take different forms, with some stories embracing paranormal fantasies, while in others a protagonist detective determines a logical explanation behind the strange mystery. (John Silence is in the former category.)
This collection brings together two different detectives. Carnacki searches for the truth with both scientific and paranormal techniques, and finds both supernatural and human dangers. John Bell is a "ghost exposer," using logic and reason to extinguish supernatural trappings and (usually) explain the mystery.
SUPERNATURAL DETECTIVES 2: AYLMER VANCE / THE
METHODS OF MORRIS KLAW
ALICE AND CLAUDE ASKEW / SAX ROHMER
Aylmer Vance investigates the unknown, using his gifts to determine the source of unexplained phenomena, and helping where he is able. His encounters include both the lovely (as the Lady Green-Sleeves) and the frightening (a vampire curse). These stories were first published in 1914.
Sax Rohmer's Morris Klaw is an eccentric investigator who, along with his beautiful daughter Isis, confronts both supernatural and criminal mysteries. Klaw's strange methods include sleeping at crime scenes to imprint the 'odic forces' and his theories on the Cycles of Crime.
SUPERNATURAL DETECTIVES 3: EXPERIENCES OF
FLAXMAN LOW / SOME EXPERIENCES OF LORD SYFRET
E. AND H. HERON / ARABELLA KENEALY
This third pairing of supernatural detectives brings together two very different investigators. Flaxman Low is a typical "psychic detective" investigating strange deaths, ghostly encounters, and weird events. All 12 stories of Flaxman Low (first published 1898-1899) are collected here. Lord Syfret is just bored, and a bit of a busybody, poking his nose into unusual things he encounters, managing to find several puzzles to solve along with encounters with strange or supernatural phenomena. The seven Lord Syfret stories (first published 1896 in The Ludgate Magazine) are collected here.
SUPERNATURAL DETECTIVES 4: SHIELA CRERAR / LUNA
BARTENDALE & THE UNDYING MONSTER
ELLA M. SCRYMSOUR / JESSIE DOUGLAS
This fourth duo of supernatural detectives is of the feminine variety. Tim Prchal (Oklahoma State University) introduces these two women as early examples in the genre, and questions why there are so few female supernatural investigators in the early literature.
Shiela Crerar lost her home, so sets out to become a solver of "uncanny mysteries" and "layer of ghosts." She almost meets more than her match. Her six stories were published in 1920.
Luna Bartendale is a professional "supersensitive" who is called in to help end the curse of a bestial monster that haunts the lineage of an old family. This is the full novel, The Undying Monster, first published in 1922.
SUPERNATURAL DETECTIVES 5: THE COLOUR-CRIMINOLOGIST
/ FROM WHOSE BOURNE
WILLIAM LE QUEUX / ROBERT BARR
The Colour-Criminologist: Dr. John Durston uses colour mentation to study chromatic vibrations, allowing him, among other things, to see visions of events elsewhere. Miss Dalrymple joins him in his research, leading to strange adventures. These stories were first published in 1917 as The Rainbow Mystery: Chronicles of a Colour-Criminologist, by William Le Queux (1864-1927).
From Whose Bourne: William Brenton is dead. Was it murder? If so, was it his wife, Alice? The police think so. A detective is needed, but the only one pursuing the inquiry is William himself. As a ghostly investigator, William finds he needs help from both sides of the veil. From Whose Bourne by Robert Barr (1849-1912) was published in 1896.