Item description for The Detections of Francis Quarles (Lost Classics) by John Cooper Julian Symons...
CLASSIC DETECTION BY A GRAND MASTER
Julian Symons (1912-1994) was one of the greatest mystery writers to emerge after World War II. He was recognized with the Crime Writers Association's highest honor, The Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement and the Mystery Writers of America honored him as a Grand Master.
In 1950, for a long-running series of short-short stories for London's Evening Standard newspaper, Symons invented private detective Francis Quarles. After engaging in mysterious activites during the Second World War, Quarles opened an office in Trafalgar Square, from where he investigates puzzles ranging from robbery to murder.
The Detections of Francis Quarles contains 41 previously uncollected investigations.
The book is edited John Cooper, co-author of the definitive Detective Fiction: The Collectors' Guide. The cover painting is by Carol Heyer, and the Lost Classics design is by Deborah Miller.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.2" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.9" Weight: 0.95 lbs.
Release Date Feb 10, 2006
Publisher Crippen & Landru Publishers
ISBN 1932009442 ISBN13 9781932009446
Reviews - What do customers think about The Detections of Francis Quarles (Lost Classics)?
Should Have Stayed Lost Jun 4, 2006
Francis Quarles, named after an obscure English poet, was one of the late Julian Symons' least interesting characters, and he figures in every one of the tales on display. I have often hailed the "Lost Classics" series published by Crippen & Landru for their genuinely terrific work in bringing back out of print material, but this time they've gone to the well once too often. People love Julian Symons, but i have never known why. They think of him as the Graham Greene of detective fiction, but I expect that he was sort of a clubby, fraternal guy otherwise how could he have won all those awards like the Diamond Dagger? He's hardly a good writer, he just imitated whatever was in the air in "mainstream" fiction and copied it in detective writing.
Most trying of all are these tiny little stories that remind me of the stories they used to anthologize for subteens called "Minute Murders." Quarles always traps the guilty party by using the most ridiculous of "evidence"--an art critic, for example, who doesn't know that Picasso was from Spain. Or how about the fellow whose American aunt uses "lift" for elevator and "pavement" for sidewalk. Guilty! In all of these cases there are 100 plausible reasons for the "mistake" in question, and yet they are each presented as the smoking gun in Quarles' brilliant arsenal of little grey cells. You won't believe your eyes. Yes, Ellery Queen did the same sort of thing--it didn't work for Ellery Queen either. And wait till you read Symons' dying message stories, they will make you appreciate Queen's all the more. In one story, a dying bibliophile arranges five books on his desk as he slips into death. Quarles deduces that these books spell the name of the killer. It's beyond inane, it must have been some sort of parlor game for old Symons.
The more I read, eventually I passed the point where the formula was bothering me, and I began to enjoy the subtle, minute variations in the tales. And yet still, it's a pretty negligible return. I do notice that the editor, John Cooper, while printing 41 brief cases here, left out many of the tales because some depend on data we couldn't possibly know about nowadays, such as what London telephone operators used to say in the 1950s. IMHO he should have printed them all, for the excluded stories couldn't possibly be more banal than the ones Cooper gives us, and at least we could then have the pleasure of the completist.
Hello, Crippen & Landru! 1) for goodness sake get a proof reader! On the back jacket it says, "The book is edited John Cooper." What? Did the word "by" vanish from the sentence? And 2) please hurry with the book you have promised giving us the short fiction of Mignon G. Eberhart! Now there's one to anticipate.
Absolutely lovely detective short stories Mar 6, 2006
I'm not much for gory, long-winded mystery stories. As a lover of Ellery Queen and Issac Asimov short stories (puzzles, play-fair-with reader plots), this collection by Julian Symons is a real gem. Francis Quarles is Mr. Symons' series detective, and it's fun to read along to see if one can ferret out the villain before the concluding sentences. Highly recommended.