Monday, November 29, 2021

Mystery Monday: The Notting Hill Mystery

Mystery Monday: The Notting Hill Mystery 
The Notting Hill Mystery
was initially published as an eight-part serial between 1862 and 1863 in the magazine Once a Week. Written under the pseudonym Charles Felix, the story is thought to be the first detective novel, pre-dating Wilkie Collin’s The Moonstone which is often touted as holding that honor. No one knows for certain who wrote the book, but scholars who love to argue that sort of thing have since come to the conclusion that Charles Warren Adams is the author. 
Not much is known about the man other than the fact he was born in 1833 in England. He became a lawyer and somehow became involved in “bailing out” the London publishing firm of Saunders, Otley & Co. after the two owners died. Despite his efforts, the firm was liquidated in 1869. However, prior to that, the company had published Velvet Lawn in 1864 and The Notting Hill Mystery in book form in 1865, both written by the aforementioned Charles Felix. 
Adams married twice. The first time, he wed Georgina Alethe Polson in 1861, and she passed away in 1880. At some point after that, he met Mildred Coleridge (great-grandniece of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.) She left home to live with Adams, causing an upheaval in her family. Her brother penned a long letter to her attacking Adams who took the man to court for libel and won the case. He and Mildred were married on June 24, 1885 and remained together until Adam’s death in July 1903. 
No matter who wrote The Notting Hil Mystery, it is a fun story told by insurance investigator Ralph Henderson who is building a case against Baron “R_____” who is suspected of killing his wife for the insurance payment. (A plotline that continues to show up to this day.) According to one summary, Henderson “descends into a maze of intrigue including a diabolical mesmerist, kidnapping by gypsies, slow-poisoners, a rich uncle’s will and three murders.” 
Interestingly, the story is presented using diary entries, letters, chemical analysis reports, interviews with witnesses, and a crime scene map. These techniques didn’t become part of crime fiction until the 1920s. The book was illustrated by George du Maurier (Daphne du Maurier’s grandfather). Pilot Press Ltd. Of London reprinted the novel in 1945 as part of its anthology Novels of Mystery from the Victorian Age. In 2011, the British Library made the book available via print-on-demand, and it sold so many copies, they produced a trade edition in 2012. An ebook edition is also available.


Murder at Madison Square Garden:

The dream of a lifetime becomes a nightmare. 

Photojournalist Theodora “Teddy” Schafer’s career has hit the skids thanks to rumors of plagiarism. With any luck, a photo spread with Charles Lindbergh at the America First Rally will salvage her reputation. After an attempted assassination of Lindbergh leaves another man dead, Teddy is left holding the gun. Literally. Can she prove her innocence before the police lock her up for a murder she didn’t commit? 
Private Investigator Ric Bogart wants nothing to do with women after his wife cleaned out their bank account and left him for another man, but he can’t ignore the feeling he’s supposed to help the scrappy, female reporter who is arrested for murder at the America First rally. Can he believe her claims of innocence and find the real killer without letting Teddy steal his heart?

Purchase Link:

No comments:

Post a Comment