Thursday, August 21, 2008

Before Sherlock

One of the books I've never been able to suss out is Leaves from the Note-Book of a New York Detective. Published in 1865 by Dick & Fitzgerald, it's a collection of stories told to John Babbinton Williams by a retired New York detective named James Brampton.

We all know that Sherlock Holmes was the original analytical detective whose observations of small details proved him to be the master detective, but works like 1864's Experiences of a French Detective and The Autobiography of a London Detective certainly filled the gap between Poe and Conan Doyle, between sensational and analytical.

Now comes word that Leaves from the Note-Book of a New York Detective will be republished this October by Westholme Publishing in a paperback edition at $14.95. Told in the first person and transcribed from Brampton's diary by John B. Williams (a doctor, we must note), it lays out 29 cases in which Brampton's powers of observation proved indispensable. Some of his methods and observations are echoed in the Holmes canon.

But unlike Holmes,Brampton's cases are mere fiction, but it should be interesting to read them in the strong historical light that shines from Sherlock Holmes.

No comments: