Thursday, 9 February 2012

The British Detective

You know the one. Lives on Baker Street. Name begins with an S. Has a male companion. And a dog.

That's right, Sexton Blake is who I'm referring to, with companion/servant Tinker and dog Pedro. He might be known as "the lesser Sherlock Holmes", but he does have quite the expansive literary career. Written by multiple authors, he started in 1893 and had his own library of stories from 1915 to 1968. Take that Sherlock! Even had multiple comics, a tv series, and film and radio adaptations.

However, like most series by multiple authors, his stories can vary wildly. Although he is a detective in the London mould, his stories have more action and hint more of 'Boys Own' than Sherlock. I read a collection of his works, containing seven stories. One I liked a lot (The Man From Scotland Yard), others I tolerated. Some I scanned... and some I simply skimmed. (See, I know the difference! Not that it matters any more.)

And yet, clearly, he's not as popular as Sherlock. Perhaps the slightly more cerebral approach? Perhaps Sherlock caught on earlier, making Blake look like even more of a knock off? Maybe Blake didn't get the wide circulation quickly enough? Maybe the one author gave Sherlock the consistent character boost that helps established him?

I have a few other collections of other detectives (they are very cheap considering the amount of content!), so we'll see how they stack up.



evildicemonkey said...

I have a problem with Sexton Blake... or more accurately with the fact that it is written by multiple authors.

I had heard good things about him and when out to read one of his adventures, it was piss poor.

Now it could have been that it was just the author that I picked was a bad writer (or having an off day) and I have dismissed a whole body of work based on one writer's story, it feels unfair to the character but I don't want to go back but and spend the effort of reading another one when my first experience was so bad.

Any comments that can persuade me otherwise?

Jamas Enright said...

Hopefully someone else will jump in. As I said, there was only the one I would recommend (and that's part of a series, some time I might look for others).

The only thing I can suggest, is get a sampler like the book I got, and try that.

Jet Simian said...

If you only read about one British Dective, then this guy is your man!

What's a dective anyway?

Jamas Enright said...

You know what they say: if you can't say anything nice, post on the internet.