Shelf Shot 16 – The Complete Dr. Thorndyke

Here are all nine volumes, on my shelf.

The Complete Dr. Thorndyke by R. Austin Freeman, 9 volumes, MX Publishing, UK, softcover. Also available in hardcover.

Summary of first three volumes from MX website:

“Volume I contains the first three Thorndyke novels, published in 1907, 1911, and 1912, respectively. Set in London during the time that Sherlock Holmes was still in practice, these introduce us to Thorndyke and his world, as well as painting a vivid picture of the London of that era.

The Red Thumb Mark – In which Dr. Jervis encounters his old friend, Dr. Thorndyke. Soon after, they’re drawn into a mystery where a man is accused of murder, and his own bloody thumbprint, evidence that cannot be denied, places him absolutely at the scene of the crime. As Thorndyke investigates, it becomes apparent that he is too much of a threat and must be removed.

The Eye of Osiris – Wherein a man vanishes and is presumed dead. But from where and when exactly did he disappear? That is the initial question, but by the end it’s much more complex, with one of the most unique solutions in mystery history!

The Mystery of 31 New Inn – Dr. Jervis is summoned at night by closed carriage to treat a gravely ill patient – but is he simply sick or being murdered? His suspicions continue to grow, and Thorndyke provides a unique solution. But that’s only half, as the two also become involved in an unusual death related to a young man’s inheritance.

Volume II contains roughly the first half of the Thorndyke Short Stories. In all, there are over forty Thorndyke short stories, spread over six books. This volume contains the fifteen short stories from the first three, John Thorndyke’s CasesThe Singing Bone, and The Great Portrait Mystery.

Some of the stories in this book are especially famous, as they were the first use of the “inverted” mystery, in which the criminal (and how he did it) are identified from the first, and the second half of the narrative shows how Thorndyke solves it, in spite of the criminal’s every effort. (The “inverted” crime story was later used to great success by Columbo, as well as other detectives.)

In addition to these fifteen stories, this book also contains a couple of Apocrypal Thorndyke tales:

  • The original novella of “31, New Inn” from 1905, which became The Mystery of 31 New Inn, the third Thorndyke novel from 1912. This is the doctor’s true first appearance – written and published several years before the appearance of The Red Thumb Mark (1907), which is commonly believed to be Thorndyke’s first published adventure; and
  • “The Dead Hand” (1912), which later became the revised and expanded Thorndyke novel The Shadow of the Wolf (1925).

Volume III contains the remaining half of the Thorndyke Short Stories. These, along with the contents of 2018’s Volume II (with the first half of the short stories and a few rare Apocryphal items), presents the complete short Thorndyke mysteries for a new generation.

In all, there are over forty Thorndyke short stories, spread over six books. This volume contains all twenty-five stories from the final three collections, Dr. Thorndyke’s CasebookThe Puzzle Lock, and The Magic Casket.

Some of the stories in this book are especially famous, as Freeman was the first to use the “inverted” mystery, in which the criminal (and how he did it) are identified during the first half of the story, and the second half of the narrative shows how Thorndyke solves it, in spite of the criminal’s every effort. (The “inverted” crime story was later used to great success by Columbo, as well as other detectives.)”

The full collection is here – Thorndyke Collection


I had read some Thorndyke stories in anthologies, and enjoyed them enough to start buying these as they were published. I’ve read the first novel and the second volume, which contains short stories. For my earlier thoughts on Thorndyke, enter “Thorndyke” in the search field the upper right of the page.

You should be able to click on the image and read the contents on the spines. These are very nice books and it’s great to have the complete set, especially since earlier editions have gotten pricey. If you haven’t read any Dr. Thorndyke stories, you’re in for a treat when you do.

These books are Highly Recommended!

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Books & Reading. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Shelf Shot 16 – The Complete Dr. Thorndyke

  1. tracybham says:

    I have only one of these, and I haven’t started reading it yet. I did hear about it from you, but I had not read anything by the author, so just ordered one.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Wow, I hadn’t realized they’d done all of them in such a nice set. I’ve read all the short stories and THE RED THUMB MARK for sure, but can’t remember if I read any other of the novels. These look great on the shelf – as mentioned before, I really like matching sets like this.

  3. Patti Abbott says:

    I am not sure I have ever read even one.

  4. Diane’s eyes popped when the UPS guy dropped off four boxes last week. Yes, it was Volumes 6, 7, 8, and 9 of THE COMPLETE DR. THORNDYKE series. Love your shelf-shot of all those wonderful books! MX Publishing should be proud of this achievement! I can’t wait to start reading this whole set! But, I’m surprised THE COMPLETE DR. THORNDYKE has gotten so little attention. Hopefully your blog post will generate some interest. This project deserves support.

  5. Cap'n Bob Napier says:

    Are they on Kindle? You make them sound good enough to read, though ghu knows where I’d find the time.

Leave a Reply to Richard Robinson Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s