Deep Waters – Mysteries on the Waves edited by Martin Edwards, British Library, 2019 paperback, British Library Crime Classics series
A most enjoyable anthology, with many older, good examples, some well-known, of the mystery fiction world. Martin Edwards’ Introduction provides a survey of the sub-genre, and his notes on the authors of each story are excellent, as always.
So, to start with the Doyle. The Adventure of the “Gloria Scott” by Arthur Conan Doyle (1893): Although this is Holmes’ first ‘case’, it is, while interesting, hardly a detective story. Nevertheless, as a Holmes fan I was glad to reread it.
“The Eight Mile Lock” by LT Meade and R Eustace (1897): I’d read this one before, too, and remembered it as a bit silly. I was right. It’s about the theft and recovery of a diamond bracelet.
“The Gift of the Emperor” by EW Hornung (1899 ):Raffles, Bunny, and the theft of a magnificent pearl. We learn a lot about the relationship of the felonious duo, which I knew already, but this time I found the whole thing a bit tiresome. There are better Raffles stories, if that’s what you’re seeking.
“Bullion” by W.H. Hodgson (1911): Hodson returns to a favorite theme, a whistling, or whispering, entity haunting a room or house. This one takes place on a ship, and involves the theft of gold. Pretty good one.
“The Echo of a Mutiny” by RA Freeman (1912): Inverted tale of a murder with its roots in past misdeeds. I can’t say I liked it much.
“The Pool of Secrets” by Gwyn Evans (1935): Features an odd, mysterious detective, Quentin Ellery Drex. Involves a robot and an innovative murder method, by a prolific and seldom read writer.
“Four Friends and Death” by C StJ Sprigg (1935): I liked this story about three men faced with a poisoning. They had most of the facts…
“The Turning of the Tide” by CS Forester (1936): Though it is atmospheric, this inverted story of a well-planned but poorly executed murder left me disappointed. I’m not sure why.
“The Swimming Pool” by HC Bailey (1936): Reggie Fortune investigates a disappearance and murders in a tale with twists. Described by a Goodreads reader as “long-winded and written in an irritating style”. That’s a bit strong, but it could have been shorter.
“A Question of Timing” by Phyllis Bentley (1946): This was a good one, and the narrator prevents a murder.
“The Thimble River Mystery” by Josephine Bell (1950): I’d read this one before, somewhere, so it was slightly familiar. It features the author’s series detective, Dr David Wintringham.
“Man Overboard” by Edmund Crispin (1954): Another one I’d read before, but enjoyed all over again. DI Humbleby tells Gervase Fen why the police like blackmailers.
“Queer Fish” by Ken Bennett (1955): Predictable, story by a forgotten writer.
“The Man who Was Drowned by James Pattinson (1958): Investigation of a “man overboard’ on the high seas leads to complications and murder.
“Seasprite” by Andrew Garve (1963): Not much to my taste, but then he is not an author I like much. Some readers will like it for the irony.
“Death by Water” by Michael Innes (1975): A suspicious drowning, accident, suicide or murder?
I’d recommend it, but some of the stories are a little creaky.
Note on cover: the one you see here is the UK cover; the British Library edition. The U.S. title (Murder on the Waves) and cover by Poisoned Pen Press are different, showing a stream in woods.