Friday, November 19, 2010

Forgotten Books: SUPERNATURAL SLEUTHS -- Martin H. Greenberg & Chales G. Waugh, Eds.

Surely everybody likes a little change of pace now and then, so I thought it was time for a book of stories with offbeat detectives. The ones in this book deal not just with the supernatural, as the title implies, but also with some pretty mundane things. Mundane, that is, if you're living in the future.

There are ghosts, of course, in stories like "Vandy, Vandy" by Manley Wade Wellman, a fine entry from his Silver John series, and in Ron Goulart's typically funny, satirical "The Ghost Patrol." But the primary Ghost Detective here is Carnacki, the creation of William Hope Hodgson. Carnacki always recounts his adventures to the members of a group of friends with whom he meets for dinner. Never until after they've eaten, however. In "The Gateway of the Monster," he manages to defeat a particularly unusual haunt.

Trains of one kind or another are always fun in a supernatural setting, and that's what you get in William F. Nolan's "Lonely Train A'Comin'" and Robert Weinberg's cover story, "The Midnight El."

If you've never read Melville Davisson's Uncle Abner stories, or any of his others, for that matter, you've missed not only a treat but some of the best early detective stories in the American canon. He's represented here by "The Angel of the Lord," the first of the Uncle Abner stories, and a good one, too.

"Death by Ecstasy" is a novella set in the future. It's the first of Larry Niven's Gil Hamilton stories, and it's pretty much a private-eye tale, even though Hamilton's not really a p. i. His job is tracking down organleggers for A. R. M., a branch of the U. N. This one's a locked-room mystery. All the Gil Hamilton stories are fun, and this one was the first.

There are some other good stories in the book, so I'm posting the ToC for you. If you like short stories that are a bit different, check out this book.


Anonymous said...

Sounds good. I know I've read the Carnacki and Uncle Abner stories at least.


George said...

I haven't seen this book before. I'll have to see if my public library has SUPERNATURAL SLEUTHS. Good choice!

Todd Mason said...

Always up for a John the Balladeer or Max Kearney story...