I’m pleased to report that the thirteenth volume published by Brom Bones Books is now available. It’s also the sixth in the Phantom Traditions Library. Titled From Eerie Cases to Early Graves: 5 Short-Lived Occult Detective Series, this new book opens with Fitz-James O’Brien’s two Harry Escott tales, includes similar series characters from Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood, and closes with Allen Upward’s five adventures featuring clairvoyant Alwyne Sargent and realtor Jack Hargreaves. (Well, actually, there’s an appendix presenting an 1893 essay that looks at cross-cultural beliefs about getting rid of ghosts!)
As far as I can tell — and don’t quote me on this — the Sargent and Hargreaves series has never before been published in its entirety in book form. Originally, it had been published monthly in Royal Magazine, and I’ve seen one or two of the stories included individually in occult detective or ghost story anthologies. I think the stories really work best together, since Sargent and Hargreaves improve as their investigations as they go, Sargent’s use of her psychic powers takes a gradual toll, and a significant relationship develops between the two.
I must make clear, though, that From Eerie Cases to Early Graves might remind some stalwart fans of occult detective fiction of a similar book I edited for another press, an anthology that is no longer in print. I see this as a much improved second edition of that earlier volume. I dropped some of the weaker, very short-lived series, and I added two series that I think those fans will much better appreciate.
You can see which characters are included on the page for this new book. There, you can also read my introduction to get a good feel of the thing and to maybe learn a few things about the history of detective fiction and series characters in general.