The Mammoth Book of Historical Detectives

Mike Ashley (editor)

Robinson 1995
A book review by Danny Yee © 1995
I have always enjoyed historical fiction and have recently taken up reading detective fiction, so The Mammoth Book of Historical Detectives was hard to resist. The thirty stories included are arranged in chronological order, from a "locked room" mystery set in Australia in 35 000 BC and several stories set in classical Rome to a Sherlock Holmes imitation set in the 1920s, and feature a wide variety of detectives — among them figures such as William Shakespeare and Captain Cook. The stories vary in quality, with some working better as detective stories and others as historical fiction, but the worst of them are entertaining and the better ones are real gems. What I found most valuable about the volume was the new authors it introduced me to; while I was already familiar with some, most of those included were completely new to me. Particularly helpful in this regard are the brief biographical and bibliographical notes with which Ashley introduces each story; these provide a guide to the other works in the genre by the same author. Ashley also edited an earlier volume titled The Mammoth Book of Historical Whodunnits, which is now on my shopping list.

December 1995

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%T The Mammoth Book of Historical Detectives
%E Ashley, Mike
%I Robinson
%D 1995
%O paperback
%G ISBN 1854874063
%P xii,532pp