Monday, 21 March 2016

The Terror by Edgar Wallace

I've very much enjoyed reading the Detective Story Club reprints that are being so attractively republished by Harper Collins. They occupy a slightly different part of the market than the British Library Crime Classics series, covering a longer time frame and including thrillers as well as whodunits. The books are keenly priced hardbacks with dust jackets that reproduce the original cover artwork. As you can see from the above image, The Terror is nothing if not dramatic!

The Terror was written by Edgar Wallace and is the second book in this series to which I've provided an introduction; the first was that very intriguing Victorian novel Called Back, by Hugh Conway. This is a very different kind of story, but it's packed with twisty action; reading it,you can see that Wallace had the storytelling skills of a mega-seller.

The Terror headed the list of six books which got the Detective Story Club off to a flying start, and was the only one of the half-dozen that was not a reprint. Wallace got the idea while on holiday in France in 1926, and turned it into a stage play before writing the novel. It was quickly filmed, and then remade with Alastair Sim and Bernard Lee in lead roles.

This edition also includes, as a bonus, Wallace's story White Face, which was also based on a stage play. Again, it was also filmed, though the film is now considered 'lost', and again it supplies lively escapist entertainment. The titles included in this series are highly diverse, ranging from the two books I've introduced to The Ponson Case by Freeman Wills Crotts and the highly enjoyable first appearance of Colonel Anthony Gethryn, The Rasp. And quite apart from their lively contents, these books do look lovely on the shelf!

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