The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe (1841)

After much unreasonable waiting, I’ve finally absorbed one of the first modern detective stories. The murderous adventure and analytical characters hold up quite well through all these years. What a different place the world was in 1841? How Poe came up with this murder is beyond me? The ending still comes out of left field. If you enjoyed this story, take a look inside The Confessions of Arsene Lupin for a fitting tribute.

C. Auguste Dupin is a man possessing great analytical skill. Through small clues and conjecture he can almost read minds. In the time honored tradition you follow this quick thinking french man as he attempts to solve The Murders in the Rue Morgue.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/the-murders-in-the-rue-morgue-by-edgar-allen-poe/

The Camera Fiend by E.W. Hornung (1911)

We’ve all seen things out of the corners of our eyes that required a double take. Is a person standing in the moonlit hall? No, that’s just the coat rack with my leather jacket hanging at a confusing angle. Is that leaf floating in mid air? No, only a leaf caught in a spider web. This book is a treat that first looks average and tastes completely different once you bite into it. I’m reminded of painters who aggressively slosh paint on canvas in a haphazard manner creating what appears to be abstract art. After a few minutes, the artist flips the canvas around to reveal some famous face. A cute little trick that makes the whole story worthwhile.

You follow the sickly Pocket Upton on a regular jaunt down to London to see the asthma specialist. After the doctor lectures him against him smoking, he is given two bottles of medicine in exchange for the special asthma cigarettes Pocket uses daily. Pocket walks from the doctor’s office knowing that he has the choice of two places to stay the night. Each rejects him meanly leaving a 16 year old asthmatic boy alone without a bed in the heart of London. Follow Pocket as he bumbles in and out of trouble in The Camera Fiend.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/30096

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/the-camera-fiend-by-e-w-hornung/

The Great Taxicab Robbery by James H. Collins (1912)

Here is a glimpse into the daily routine of New York Police Department and the lives of a band of criminals over a hundred years ago. Two things caught my eye throughout the story, sensational journalism and dubious lie detection. Multiple times the author criticizes the New York press for overreacting to the absence of immediate arrests and visible police investigation. A smart reminder that newspapers and periodicals were just as likely to print half true, provocative headlines in the past as they do today. At the end of the story watch for some unscientific lie detection. The commissioner seems aware that these devices and ruses are bogus. Instead, these “lie detectors” are used as psychological leverage during interrogation.

A sensation swept through New York City on February 15, 1912. In the middle of the day, a taxi carrying $25,000 from bank to bank was stopped and robbed. Five men were seen escaping with the money in an unidentified black motorcar. Slowly and methodically the case is solved and all the criminals involved are arrested. See the world through the eyes of the police force by reading this account of The Great Taxicab Robbery.

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/the-great-taxicab-robbery-by-james-h-collins/

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/53145

An Amiable Charlatan by E. Phillips Oppenheim(1916)

This was a treat. Yes, yes . . . a real treat. *sigh* I don’t want to spoil it for you. Suffice to say that it is a rollicking good time following around Mr. Parker and his daughter. Sweet cons and crimes galore. Become a card carrying adventurer today by reading An Amiable Charlatan. 

 

free ebook download: http://manybooks.net/titles/oppenheietext068achr10.html

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/an-amiable-charlatan-by-e-phillips-oppenheim/

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (1922)

I feel kind of bad writing about this book. Not that the book is bad. In fact, it is fantastic and I loved every moment I spent reading it. On the other hand, it feels too easy to recommend  an Agatha Christie book since she is one of the greatest selling authors of all time. But I digress. I loved it and that’s that.
Tommy and Tuppence are a wonderful one, two punch precisely because it is impossible to tell who is one and who is two. They are comrades and companions that rely on each other unlike say the Holmes and Watson pairing. I always felt that Holmes had the ability to solve any case by his lonesome and in many cases he did. But what makes it all the more wonderful is that the running dialogue between Tommy and Tuppence is fantastic. I’m always a sucker for witty dialogue and this is just about the best. They remind me vaguely of another witty and conversational couple: Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. To not be outdone the story itself is also thrilling and leaves the best mystery until the end. So pick up a copy of The Secret Adversary. 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1155