Saturday 3 October 2009

Hugh Greene and Sherlock's Rivals

I mentioned Hugh Greene recently. He is nowadays little remembered, in comparison to his brother Graham, yet in his time (1910-1987) he became a major public figure, notably as Director General of the BBC. He picked up a knighthood, published a few books and managed to fit in four marriages. A busy chap.

When I was ten or eleven, I was given as a Christmas present The Spy’s Bedside Book, a nice anthology which Hugh edited together with Graham. Enjoyable stuff, but even better was a subsequent present, The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes. This was a collection of stories about detective characters whose exploits were overshadowed by the more famous Sherlock. Examples included Romney Pringle and the villainous Dorrington.

The book was a deserved success, and spawned a television series. This has recently come out on DVD and the only reason I haven’t yet treated myself to a copy is because I can’t imagine when I’d get to watch it. But I’m sure I will succumb to temptation in due course.

Hugh Greene produced three more compilations of short stories from the era of Conan Doyle. One book featured rural crimes, another was devoted to early examples of Eurocrime, and a third to American mysteries. There were some good finds in each volume, and if you like early detective stories, you will find much to feast on in the Hugh Greene anthologies.


BooksPlease said...

I haven't come across Hugh Greene before. Thanks for the info.

There's an an award for you on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this - I wasn't familiar with Hugh Greene, either; you've made me curious : ).

Martin Edwards said...

BP and Margot - If you like gaslit crime, the stories in the Greene anthologies are well worth reading. He dug up some real classics.

BP - as for the award, thanks very much. And of course I enjoy your blog as well.

Anonymous said...

Take a day or two off and watch the DVD. It's excellent, and the Dorrington stories with Peter Vaughan, and the Max Carrados story with Robert Stephens, are worth the price of the box set by themselves.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for the advice, Anon, you've sold it to me! Those are episodes I don't remember watching first time round, though The Horse of the Invisible seems to stay in my mind.