August Derleth

Introduction by Peer Ruber

Cover by Jean Pierre Cagnat

Set of story icons by Paul Churchill

Folio Hard Covers 2 Vol., 1100pp.
ISBN 1-55246-077-0 @ $200.00

A set of eight paperbacks is forthcoming. Click to view


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Over the four decades that August Derleth wrote his detective stories featuring Solar Pons, he evolved not as one of the many imitators of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary Sherlock Holmes but an inspired creation in his own right. And, in the eyes of noted historians and critics of detective and mystery literature, "the logical successor to Sherlock Holmes."
    The world of Solar Pons did not recreate London's gaslit, fog-shrouded streets during the Victorian era, when Jack the Ripper ruthlessly stalked his prey and Hansom cabs raced through the night. Solar Pons assumed the mantle as the most famous private inquiry agent during the opening decades of the 20th century, after Holmes had retired to his bee-keeping farm in Sussex, two years after Sir Arthur announced he would write no more adventures.
    This handsome 2-volume edition brings together for the first time all 9 Solar Pons collections for the enjoyment of a new generation of readers. Included are 75 short stories and 2 novels, August Derleth's essays about Solar Pons, excerpts from the notebooks in which Dr. Lyndon Parker recorded Solar Pons' greatest cases, and nearly 60 illustrations and 2 comic strip adventures.
    Peter Ruber provides a long introduction that explores the creation and history of Solar Pons, why he vanished after several brief appearances in pulp magazines in 1929 and 1930; his rediscovery by Ellery Queen in the early 1940s, who urged Derleth to bring Pons back to life; how the sons of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tried unsuccessfully in 1946 to suppress the first Solar Pons collection; and the discovery of unpublished stories nearly a quarter century after the author's death.
    In a second essay, Ruber explores the strange circumstances that surrounded the publication of the 1982 Arkham House Solar Pons omnibus, which corrupted the original text in a way the author never intended. Sharp criticism by collectors and historians before and after that omnibus was published has led to a growing demand for a new and definitive edition — one faithful to Derleth's original text.
    Sit back, now, and enjoy such acknowledged classic tales as "The Late Mr. Faversham," "The Purloined Periapt," "The Six Silver Spiders, "The Mosaic Cylinders," "The Camberwell Beauty," "The Adventure of the Orient Express," "The Unique Dickensians," and many others that rival some of Sir Arthur's best Sherlock Holmes stories.

Wisconsin author August Derleth (1909-1971) achieved many distinguishing landmarks during his lifetime. He was a prolific and well-respected writer of regional and historical fiction, a poet of some renown, a writer of journal books, biographies, histories, countless supernatural and mystery stories, a popular lecturer and teacher at the University of Wisconsin, and a long-time newspaper and magazine columnist. Arkham House, the publishing company he founded in 1939, has become one of the leading specialty presses in the U.S. devoted to horror and supernatural fiction, and recently celebrated its 60th anniversary. Derleth wrote and edited 180 books; many books of his uncollected and unpublished writings have been released over the last few years; more are in development.