How to Enjoy The Sleuth of St. James’s Square by Melville Davisson Post

The Sleuth of St. James’s Square by Melville Davisson Post

A short guide for mystery lovers who want to discover a classic collection of detective stories

If you are a fan of mystery and detective fiction, you might have heard of Melville Davisson Post, an American author who wrote several popular stories featuring Sir Henry Marquis, the head of Scotland Yard’s Criminal Investigation Department. One of his most famous works is The Sleuth of St. James’s Square, a collection of 16 short stories that showcase the skills and adventures of Sir Henry and his associates.

The Sleuth of St. James’s Square was published in 1920 and is considered a classic of the genre. It contains some of the most ingenious and original plots that Post ever devised, ranging from mysterious murders to baffling thefts, from ancient curses to modern conspiracies. The stories are set in various locations, such as London, Paris, New York, and even the Scottish Highlands. They feature a diverse cast of characters, such as aristocrats, artists, diplomats, criminals, and even supernatural beings.

The stories are also notable for their style and tone, which combine humor, suspense, and clever twists. Post was a master of language and dialogue, and he used them to create vivid scenes and memorable personalities. He also had a keen eye for detail and a knack for creating atmosphere and mood. He could make the reader feel the tension of a chase, the thrill of a discovery, or the horror of a revelation.

 Melville Davisson Post

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If you want to enjoy The Sleuth of St. James’s Square by Melville Davisson Post, here are some tips and suggestions that might help you:

  • Start with the first story, “The Thing on the Hearth”, which introduces Sir Henry Marquis and his methods. It is a classic locked-room mystery that involves a mysterious death in a sealed room with no apparent clues or suspects.
  • Read the stories in order or skip around as you please. The stories are not connected by any overarching plot or chronology, so you can read them in any order you like. However, some stories do refer to previous ones or feature recurring characters, so you might get more out of them if you read them in sequence.
  • Pay attention to the clues and hints that Post drops throughout the stories. He was very fair with his readers and always gave them enough information to solve the mysteries along with Sir Henry. However, he also liked to mislead and surprise them with red herrings and unexpected twists. Try to figure out the solutions before Sir Henry reveals them, but don’t be discouraged if you are wrong or confused. That’s part of the fun!
  • Enjoy the humor and wit that Post injects into his stories. He had a great sense of humor and often used it to lighten the mood or poke fun at his characters or situations. He also had a sharp wit and used it to create witty exchanges and clever remarks. Some of his jokes might seem dated or obscure today, but they still add charm and flavor to his stories.
  • Appreciate the historical and cultural context of the stories. Post wrote his stories in the early 20th century, when the world was undergoing rapid changes and developments. He reflected these changes in his stories, which deal with topics such as science, technology, politics, art, religion, and society. He also incorporated elements from various cultures and traditions, such as Egyptian mythology, French history, American folklore, and Scottish legends. He did his research well and used it to enrich his stories with authenticity and diversity.
  • Compare and contrast Post’s stories with other works of detective fiction. Post was influenced by other writers of his time, such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, G.K. Chesterton, and Agatha Christie. He also influenced many writers who came after him, such as Ellery Queen, John Dickson Carr, Rex Stout, and Dorothy L. Sayers. You can see the similarities and differences between Post’s stories and those of other authors in terms of plot, style, character, theme, and technique.
  • Share your thoughts and opinions with other readers. One of the best ways to enjoy a book is to discuss it with others who have read it or are interested in reading it. You can join online forums or book clubs that focus on mystery and detective fiction or on classic literature in general. You can also write reviews or blog posts about your reading experience or recommend the book to your friends or family.

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FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about The Sleuth of St. James’s Square by Melville Davisson Post:

  • Where can I find The Sleuth of St. James’s Square by Melville Davisson Post? You can find The Sleuth of St. James’s Square by Melville Davisson Post online for free on websites such as Project Gutenberg or Internet Archive. You can also buy a print or digital copy from various online or offline retailers, such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
  • Is The Sleuth of St. James’s Square by Melville Davisson Post suitable for children or young adults? The Sleuth of St. James’s Square by Melville Davisson Post is suitable for readers of all ages who enjoy mystery and detective fiction. However, some of the stories might contain scenes or themes that are too violent, scary, or complex for younger or more sensitive readers. For example, some stories involve murder, suicide, torture, madness, or occultism. Parents or guardians might want to preview the stories before letting their children or teens read them, or read them together and discuss them afterwards.
  • What are some other books by Melville Davisson Post that I might like? If you liked The Sleuth of St. James’s Square by Melville Davisson Post, you might also like his other collections of detective stories featuring Sir Henry Marquis, such as The Mystery at the Hacienda or The Strange Schemes of Randolph Mason. You might also like his stories featuring Uncle Abner, a backwoods detective who solves crimes in the American frontier, such as Uncle Abner: Master of Mysteries or The Doomdorf Mystery.

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Conclusion

The Sleuth of St. James’s Square by Melville Davisson Post is a classic collection of detective stories that will delight and challenge any mystery lover. It features 16 stories that showcase the skills and adventures of Sir Henry Marquis, the head of Scotland Yard’s Criminal Investigation Department. The stories are full of humor, suspense, and clever twists, and they reflect the historical and cultural context of the early 20th century. If you want to enjoy this book, you can follow the tips and suggestions in this guide, such as reading the stories in order or skipping around, paying attention to the clues and hints, enjoying the humor and wit, appreciating the context and diversity, comparing and contrasting with other works, and sharing your thoughts and opinions with other readers. Happy reading!

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