The Measure of Malice – Scientific Detection Stories, edited by Martin Edwards, British Library Crime Classics series, British Library 2019 paperback
I really enjoy the British Library Crime Classics books and this newest one was no exception, an anthology of stories from the late 1800s to 1960s, each with a scientific bent. A few of these may be familiar to the reader of older works, and certainly the first one, “The Boscombe Valley Mystery” will be known to the Sherlock Holmes reader. But several of these were completely new to me, and, I suspect, will be to other readers.
Here is the publisher’s blurb:
The detective’s role is simple: to catch the culprit. Yet behind each casual observation lies a learned mind, trained on finding the key to the mystery. Crimes, whatever their form, are often best solved through deliberations of logic – preferably amid complicated gadgetry and a pile of hefty scientific volumes.
The detectives in this collection are masters of scientific deduction, whether they are identifying the perpetrator from a single scrap of fabric, or picking out the poison from a sinister line-up. Containing stories by R Austin Freeman, J J Connington and the master of logical reasoning, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Measure of Malice collects tales of rational thinking to prove the power of the human brain over villainous deeds.
Indeed. Though slightly uneven, there are lots of good stories here.
Table of Contents: (I’ve put an * by my favorites)
Introduction – Martin Edwards
The Boscombe Valley Mystery – Arthur Conan Doyle *
The Horror of Studley Grange – L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace
The Tragedy of a Third Smoker – C.J. Cutcliffe Hyne
The Man Who Disappeared – L.T. Meade and Clifford Halifax
The Cyprian Bees – Anthony Wynne *
The English Filter – C.E. Bechhofer Roberts
The Contents of a Mare’s Nest – R. Austin Freeman *
After Death the Doctor – J.J. Connington *
The Broken Toad – H.C. Bailey *
In the Teeth of the Evidence – Dorothy L. Sayers
The Case of the Chemist in the Cupboard – Ernest Dudley *
The Purple Line – John Rhode
Blood Sport – Edmund Crispin
The New Cement – Freeman Wills Croft *