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Confessions of A Detective. by LEWIS (Alfred Henry) - First Edition - 1906 - from Robert Temple Booksellers and Biblio.com

Confessions of A Detective.

by LEWIS (Alfred Henry)

Condition: See description


By Alfred Henry Lewis Author of “The Boss,” “The President,” “The Sunset Trail,” etc., etc. Illustrated by E.M. Ashe. New York, A.S. Barnes & Company, 1906. Blank before half-title; half-tone frontispiece and seven plates; pp.[xii]+280; vertically-fine-ribbed scarlet cloth, lettered, with short rule, white, blocked emblematically gilt on spine, lettered white, blocked emblematically gilt, on front cover. Recased, preserving the original end-papers but with unobtrusive strengthening at hinges; white enamel slightly dusty on spine, and lacking from publisher’s name at tail; a few leaves with some staining more or less confined to margins, and one opening with heavier staining and associated tissued repair to inner margin; in general effect, however, a nice copy. Hubin, p.255; Queen’s Quorum 36: “the author of the celebrated Wolfville stories introduced Inspector Val, a ‘hickory knot’ of a man. The five tales are mostly in the romantic pattern of the day; but underlying the romance is a tough realism far ahead of its time. The first story in the book, told in real-life style, can be interpreted as a precursor of the hardboiled school minus the present-day preoccupation with sex.” The first story, in a very different style from the rest, is in fact very much more that Queen suggests: it is a social exposeé and criticism of the Tammany Hall system of graft then prevalent in New York, and details the gradual corruption of an honest police officer, concluding: “I was ‘stuck up’ as though by a footpad. It was pay three thousand dollars or go without your promotion. The public should have protected me from that; it didn’t, and — like the man with the footpad’s pistol to his ear — I did the best I could. I paid; and got the promotion to which I was entitled without paying, but would never have received in any other way.... The public should take the police out of politics. It should abolish these mayor-appointed commissioners, and give the Force a permanent head — somebody whose place can’t be taken from him by the politicians. That’s the only way.... the very ordinances are passed by the City Council, not to protect the city, but to promote graft.” (pp.69 - 70 and 73). One of the tales, ‘The Man Who Flew’ is a science-fiction detective story. All books listed by Robert Temple are first editions unless otherwise stated.

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