A while ago, I mentioned that I had a small role in Coachwhip Publication’s forthcoming volume of all of Arthur Machen’s fiction featuring his occult detective, Mr. Dyson. Coachwhip’s impressive series of supernatural detective reprints is especially valuable in that it offers the complete stories of Carnaki in the same volume as the complete stories of John Bell. All of Aylmer Vance’s cases are coupled with all of Moris Klaw’s. There are three more selections that similarly combine two occult detectives in one affordable book.
Completists might find an interest in some other volumes, too. First, I nudge fans of occult detective fiction toward the Oxford World’s Classics edition of Sheridan Le Fanu’s In a Glass Darkly. Le Fanu’s Dr. Hesselius is routinely named as the first occult detective (though I’m hoping my work on A Chronological Bibliography of Early Occult Detectives has inspired some reconsideration of that claim). Hesselius actively “detects” in the novella “Green Tea” but serves only as a posthumous framing device in the remaining four tales. Still, those tales — especially “Carmilla” — are, as Oxford suggests, world classics.
Those on a budget might prefer the Wordsworth Editions reprint of In a Glass Darkly. Wordsworth also offers the complete Simon Iff stories in Simon Iff Stories and Other Works, by Aleister Crowley. I confess that, while I own this book, I haven’t yet read it — or any of Crowley’s other fiction. Until then, I recommend this review by Mark Anderson.
Wordsworth also offers Carnacki and Aylmer Vance among their remarkable and remarkably affordable Tales of Mystery & the Supernatural series.
Readers can find the John Silence stories, by Algernon Blackwood, just about anywhere, including online for free. I nudge those who prefer to have Silence on their bookshelf to purchase the Dover edition, if only for its introduction by renown supernatural literature critic S. T. Joshi.
There are a couple of other very recently released works worth noting. The first is Altus Press‘s as-yet-incomplete reprinting of The Complete Cabalistic Cases of Semi Dual, the Occult Detector. I say it’s incomplete because, so far, only Volume One has been published. Semi Dual is a creation of authors J.U. Giesy and Junius B. Smith, and Altus’s first volume comes with an introduction written by Garyn Roberts, Ph.D. Even the paperback edition is considerably more expensive than the works I mention above, but Altus does a handsome job in resurrecting and presenting pulp characters for a new generation.
My final nudge costs a bit, too, but it looks great and it’s introduced by Ramsey Campbell. It’s The Complete John Thunstone, written by Manly Wade Wellman and published by Haffner Press. The Thunstone stories first appeared in the pulps in 1943, and I’ve been concentrating on occult detectives introduced before then. Again, this is still on my to-read list. However, this review by Paul Di Fillipo and this review by Steven Harbin both give it positive marks.
It’s encouraging to see that publishers are counting on finding readers for characters such as Semi Dual and John Thunstone.