19th CENTURY BOOK OF THE YEARS
1899 E W Hornung The Amateur Cracksman
Gentleman thief Raffles is daring, debonair and devilishly handsome. In these eight stories, the master burglar indulges his passion for crime: stealing jewels from a country house, outwitting the law and pilfering from the nouveau riche. A unique form of crime story, in which stealing is in sport.
1897 George R Sims Dorcas Dene, Detective
Dene, supportive wife and daughter, is a detective and master of disguise. Her brave and pragmatic approach, methods of observation, and powers of deduction, are used against an array of blackmailers, abductors, philanderers, lunatics, fraudsters and conspirators in this first volume of adventures. Engaging and smartly plotted.
1894 Arthur Conan Doyle The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Eleven of the finest Holmes stories including the curious incident of the dog in the night-time, a meeting with Sherlock’s formidable brother Mycroft, a couple of pre-Watson tales and, most famously, the notorious confrontation with arch-criminal Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls.
1893 Harry Blyth The Missing Millionaire
Sexton Blake, a detective who featured in many British comic strips and novels throughout the 20th century, first appeared in ‘The Missing Millionaire’, a story from The Halfpenny Marvel.
1892 Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The first twelve short stories to feature the infamous Detective Sherlock Holmes and Watson. First appearing as stories in the Strand Magazine the collection contains many famous cases such as 'A Scandal in Bohemia’ and ‘The Blue Carbuncle’. The game is afoot!
1891 Israel Zangwin The Big Bow Mystery
Widowed landlady Mrs Drabdump and retired Scotland Yarder Grodman force open a locked room (bedroom door) to discover Arthur Constant, a working class hero, dead with his throat cut - and it’s no suicide. The puzzle creates much speculation and Grodman tries to clear the man condemned to death for the crime. Sardonic in style.
1887 Arthur Conan Doyle A Study in Scarlet
Dr John Watson - and millions of readers - meet Sherlock Holmes, and enter a shadowy world of criminality and violence. They find a dead man, whose face is contorted in horror, and yet there’s no sign of violence, only a word written in blood. Holmes’s brilliant analytical skills soon go to work.
1885King Solomon's Mines
The thrilling saga of elephant hunter Allan Quatermain as he leads a group of adventurers in search of both the missing brother of one of the party. The men find danger, hardship, myth, lost tribes, cruel kings, and evil sorceress as they encounter life-threatening adventure on route to fabled treasure.
1884 Mark Twain Pudd'nhead Wilson
Switched at birth by a female slave who fears for her infant son's life, a light-skinned child changes places with the master's white son. This simple premise underlies Twain's engrossing 19th-century tale of reversed identities, an eccentric detective, a horrible crime, and a tense courtroom scene.
A man’s guilt or innocence is determined by fate, by design of the king, as either choice the accused makes, the king wins. The accused must choose a door…one houses a most vicious tiger, the other, the fairest of maidens. His fate is simple; one leads to death, the other to marriage. But, this decision is not his to make.
1882 Frank R Stockton The Lady, or the Tiger?
1881 Wilkie Collins Who Killed Zebedee?
A short detective story first published under the alternate title, ‘The Policeman & The Cook’. A young wife is convinced that, while sleepwalking, she has murdered her own husband, John Zebedee. Together, a young constable and the cook from the couple's final lodgings attempt to uncover the truth.
1880 Fyodor Dostoyevsky The Brothers Karamazov
When a brutal landowner is murdered, the lives of his sons are changed irrevocably. As the ensuing investigation and trial reveal the true identity of the murderer, Dostoyevsky's dark masterpiece evokes a world where the lines between innocence and corruption, good and evil, blur and everyone's faith in humanity is tested.
1879 Allan J Pinkerton The Gypsies and the Detectives
Allan Pinkerton was the world's first private detective. Emigrating from Scotland to Chicago, he formed the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Their logo, the All-Seeing Eye, inspired the phrase ‘Private Eye’. With half-closed eyes he saw the scene in which the wrong was done, read every criminal movement and reached his conclusions.
1878 Anna Katherine Green The Leavenworth Case: A Lawyer's Story
Ebenezer Gryce, the first American series detective, changed the mystery genre forever. Opening with the shocking murder of a wealthy New York merchant, we learn that his favourite niece is to inherit his fortune. The evidence seems to implicate her or her sister. Yet surprises greet Gryce at every turn-even before a second murder.
1875 José Maria de Eça de Queiroz The Crime of Father Amaro
Father Amaro, the new parish priest, meets, among his matriarchal community, Amelia, a young woman who tests his carnal desires. Struggling with his forced celibacy, he becomes selfish and corrupt, and commits a crime with tragic consequences. A cynical, satirical and darkly comedic look at Portuguese society and the Catholic Church.
1874 Emile Gaboriau Other People's Money
Vincent Favoral is the chief cashier for the Mutual Credit Company in Paris. The police accuse him of embezzlement and spending the cash on women. His children try to piece together the truth amid a web of secrets and deception.
1873 Emile Gaboriau In Deadly Peril
The first French novelist to write detective novels, Gaboriau’s tales are known for their realistic investigations which followed the advancements of forensic science at that time.
1872 Anthony Trollope The Eustace Diamonds
Following the death of her husband Sir Florian, beautiful Lizzie Eustace mysteriously comes into possession of a hugely expensive diamond necklace. She maintains it was a gift from her husband and, in her desire to keep the jewels, is driven to increasingly desperate acts. The third in Trollope's Palliser series.
1871 Mary Fortune The Detective’s Album
Australian author Mary Fortune is one of the first women to write detective fiction and perhaps the very first to write from the viewpoint of the detective. She is best known for The Detective's Album, the longest-running early detective serial, featuring Mark Sinclair. It was serialised for forty years in the Australian Journal.
1870 Charles Dickens The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Edwin Drood is contracted to marry but the engagement is broken off. Soon afterwards Edwin disappears. Is it murder? And is his jealous uncle the killer? Dickens died before completing the story, leaving the mystery unsolved and encouraging successive generations of readers to turn detective.
1869 Emile Gaboriau Monsieur Lecoq
Monsieur Lecoq, intrepid private detective, first appeared in The Widow Lerouge. The character was based on a real-life thief turned police officer whose own memoirs mixed fiction and fact. When a triple murder is committed Lecoq's superior is of the opinion that it was the result of a mere brawl among low-class drunkards.
1868 Wilkie Collins The Moonstone
Several narrators tell this spellbinding story of romance, theft, and murder: a novel that helped to establish the detective mystery. The innovative Sergeant Cuff investigates the disappearance of an enormous diamond.
1867 Metta Fullar Victor The Dead Letter
A young attorney relates the events surrounding the stabbing of Henry Moreland. A legendary New York City detective attempts to solve the crime. Metta Fullar Victor is the first American author to pen a full-length detective novel. She combined the mystery formula, established by Edgar Allan Poe, with those of the domestic novel. Show More
1866 Fyodor Dostoyevsky Crime and Punishment
A former student wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. He sees himself as acting beyond conventional moral law but, as he embarks on a game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police investigator, he begins to feel the pangs of guilt and longs for the chance of redemption.
1865 Harriet Prescott Spofford Mr Furbush
Through being published in the major periodical, Harper’s monthly, Harriet Prescott Spofford became a notable figure in the mystery fiction genre, helping to shape the development of the professional detective.
1864 Andrew Forrester The Female Detective
Featuring the first female professional detective character investigating several different cases which involve examining the scene of the crime, looking for clues, and employing skill and subterfuge to deduce and uncover, all conducted with her energetic and savvy approach to solving cases.
1863 Charles Felix The Notting Hill Mystery
A woman dies after apparently sleepwalking into her husband's laboratory and drinking from a bottle of acid. An insurance investigator discovers that the husband had taken out no fewer than five policies on his wife. The identity of the villain is known but how will the investigator prove his case? Considered to be the first detective novel written in English.
1862 Mary E Braddon Lady Audley's Secret
Lucy Graham marries and becomes Lady Audley but she can’t escape her shady past, especially as there are people trying to uncover it and bring her down. A complex character, Lady Audley captures the reader's sympathy, despite her devious, sinister and occasionally murderous antics.
1861 Rebecca Harding Davis Life in the Iron Mills
This tale of despair and struggle comes from one of the pioneers of realism in the American novel. Set in a foundry, and describing the lives of those at struggling with life during the Industrial Revolution, it’s a powerful but sympathetic story. A gripping and emotional read, telling of the crimes of the rich over the poor.
1860 Wilkie Collins The Woman in White
From English county houses to a lunatic asylum we meet aristocratic villains, cruel husbands, a dastardly Italian count with a fondness for poison, a handsome hero of low birth but high ideals, a heroine with a moustache, and a mysterious woman on the loose. A gothic thriller of psychological realism.
1859 Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities
Set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. Charles Darney, a former French aristocrat falls victim to the indiscriminate wrath of the revolution, while Carton, a dissipated English barrister, endeavours to redeem his ill-spent life out of his unrequited love for Darnay's wife.
1858 Wilkie Collins The Biter Bit
This humorous short story features the comically inept detective Sharpin. He bungles an investigation into Mr Yatman's stolen banknotes while mistakenly pursuing an eloping couple.
1856 Wilkie Collins The Diary of Anne Rodway
The depiction of a woman mourning the loss of her best friend. After refusing to accept a verdict of accidental death, she tracks down of the man responsible.
1854 Wilkie Collins The Lawyer's Story of a Stolen Letter
The narrator is a lawyer who contrives, in a series of ingenious moves, to steal back an incriminating letter from a blackmailer. The letter contains a confession to an attempted forgery by the dead father of a poor young governess. The lawyer's success enables her marriage to a rich young man to take place without the threat of scandal.
1853 Charles Dickens Bleak House
Featuring Inspector Bucket, one of the first English detectives, this is complex mystery that fully engages the reader in the work of detection. It’s a chilling tale of murder, corruption and betrayal in London.
1852 Wilkie Collins A Terribly Strange Bed
A man, travelling to Paris, enters a gambling house, where he wins big. After getting drunk he’s fearful of being able to make it home alive with his winnings. It doesn’t take much to persuade him to spend the night in a room above the inn but there’s something terribly strange about the bed.
1851 Annette von Droste-Hulshoff The Jew’s Beech
Friedrich Mergel grows up creepy village. When thieves come to the local forest, rangers fail to catch them and one of the rangers is killed. Suspicion falls on Friedrich, but he has an alibi. A novella of dark, chilling mystery.
1848 Elizabeth Gaskell Mary Barton
Based on an actual murder in 1831. Mary Barton, daughter of a man implicated in the murder, suffers the advances of a mill owner. Set in Manchester, between 1837-42, it paints a powerful and moving picture of working-class life in Victorian England.
1846 Edgar Allan Poe The Cask of Amontillado
This powerful tale, and classic example of the use of an unreliable narrator, first appeared in Godey's Lady's Book. The murderer, Montresor, tells his revenge story, inviting the reader to applaud his cleverness.
1845 Edgar Allan Poe The Gold-Bug
Jupiter us concerned that his master, recently bitten by a gold-coloured bug, is going insane. An adventure with old friends after a secret message is deciphered, one that will lead to buried treasure. The use of cryptograms and secret writing has been hugely influential.
1844 Edgar Allan Poe The Purloined Letter
An unnamed narrator talks with Detective C Auguste Dupin about his most celebrated cases when they are joined by the Prefect of the Police, a man who claims to have a case he wants to discuss with Dupin. An important letter has been stolen and switched. A tale of blackmail.
1843 Edgar Allan Poe The Black Cat
A confident murderer carefully conceals his crime until guilt gets the better of him and he breaks down and reveals himself. It’s a destructive death-row confession and a question of why did he lose control? A psychological story of domestic violence and brutal murder.
1842 Edgar Allan Poe The Marie Roget
Detective C Auguste Dupin and his sidekick, the unnamed narrator, investigate the unsolved murder of Marie Rogêt in Paris. The body of Rogêt, a perfume shop employee, is found in the Seine River and the media take a keen interest in the mystery.
1841 Edgar Allan Poe The Murders in the Rue Morgue
Parisian detective C Auguste Dupin investigates the mystery of the brutal murder of a mother and daughter. Witnesses heard a suspect and, at the murder scene, an inaccessible locked-room on the fourth floor, Dupin finds a hair that does not appear to be human. Poe helps to establish a formula in this, the first ever, detective story.
1840 Edgar Allan Poe The Man of the Crowd
A nameless narrator follows a man through crowded London streets. The man leads him through bazaars and shops and into a poorer part of the city in a chase that lasts into the following day and leads the narrator to reach a startling conclusions.
India, 1832, and the Thugs, or deceivers, are murdering travellers for their wares. In the course of a confession, the imprisoned Ameer Ali recounts his life as a devoted member of a secret religious cult who practised mass murder and robbery. It’s a realistic, nail-biting thriller.
1830 Edward Bulwer-Lytton Paul Clifford
Paul Clifford leads a dual life as both a criminal and an upscale gentleman. The novel opens with the line "It was a dark and stormy night." Edward George Bulwer-Lytton coined many well-known phrases, including ‘the great unwashed’, ‘pursuit of the almighty dollar’ and ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’.
1829 Steen Steensen Blicher The Rector of Veilbye
The venerable Soren Quist, Rector of Veilbye, killed his servant in a fit of rage before burying the body in his garden. A shocking and horrific event brings shame and disgrace, pain and discomfort. This Danish crime mystery is a novella based on a true murder case from 1626.
1819 ETA Hoffmann Das Fräulein von Scuderi
From the midnight knock on the door of the Mademoiselle's house at the beginning of the story until the final resolution of the crimes and the exoneration of Olivier, the reader is held in eerie suspense. A strong vision of 17th Century Paris in this exciting, well-plotted novella.