Three Cases of Samuel Johnson, Detector

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Publisher Description

This small collection is comprised of three short stories by Lillian de la Torre, a pioneer of the historical whodunnit.

"Mystery fans will be delighted by the swift and sure movement of Dr. Johnson's mind. These are stories of ratiocination and, surprisingly enough, the result seldom humbles the reader. On the contrary, he sometimes knows the solution before Dr. Johnson explains it. This extraordinary reward may tempt the veteran of modem mystery stories."--The New York Times

From the Author:

  "The stories of this series take place in England and Scotland between 1763, when young James Boswell met the great Sam: Johnson in Davies's back room in Russell Street, and 1784, when their close friendship was severed by the death of Johnson. They exhibit Dr. Johnson in a new role, a role which, though he assumed it but once, was well within his extraordinary possibilities: the role of detector of crime and chicane.

   "The stories are written as from the pen of James Boswell, who so faithfully recorded Dr. Johnson's sayings and doings in his great biography. I hope and believe that none of these imaginary exploits of Dr. Sam: Johnson will outrage belief. Each is abundantly possible to the man upon the quickness and accuracy of whose perceptions Boswell commented.

   "Of all my stories, The Second Sight of Dr. Sam: Johnson contains the most pure, unadulterated Boswell. First published in his Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides were the description of Dr. Johnson; the conversation about the second sight; the fox and the cave. Into the actual events of Dr. Johnson's visit to Raasay I have embroidered only the sinister Kelpie Pool and what was found in it.

   "The Manifestations in Mincing Lane duplicate those which Dr. Johnson investigated in Cock Lane. I have made a new story, because the outcome of the Cock Lane investigation is so well known that I wished to offer a new and entirely different solution. In case any reader finds the denouement incredible, I would refer him to The Newgate Calendar, where many such cases are chronicled.

   "The Conveyance of Emelina Grange to St. Kilda actually pre-dated Boswell by quite a bit. It has been laid at the door of that wicked old rake-hell, Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat. The fact that the abducted lady with her clew of yarn ended up in the Hebrides has caused me to flout chronology and Johnsonize the tale."

Mysteries & Thrillers
December 9
St. Swithin
Lee Daisley

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