Nick Rennison is a writer, editor and bookseller. His books include Sherlock Holmes: An Unauthorised Biography, Robin Hood: Myth, History, Culture, The Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide and 100 Must-Read Historical Novels. He is a regular reviewer of historical fiction for both The Sunday Times and BBC History Magazine.
The ghost of a poor Afghan returns to haunt the doctor who once amputated his hand. A mysterious and malignant force inhabits a room in an ancestral home and attacks all who sleep in it. A man who desecrates an Indian temple is transformed into a ravening beast. A castle in the Tyrol is the setting for an aristocratic murderer’s apparent resurrection. Nick Rennison, editor of The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes and The Rivals of Dracula, has chosen fifteen tales from that era to raise the hair and chill the spines of modern readers. What a fantastically fascinating anthology, and perfectly framed by Nick Rennison’s insightful introduction. For the uninitiated, the eponymous ‘Supernatural Sherlock’ refers to the proliferation of occult detective stories that burst forth between 1890 and 1930. Among the authors of this wildly inventive, flamboyantly colourful genre were the likes of Kipling and Conan Doyle himself, along with prominent occult magician Dion Fortune, and stories by each of these are featured here, along with an excellent tale by HP Lovecraft, and other lesser known writers. These supernaturally-charged treats will amuse, astound and send shivers of unadulterated terror down readers’ spines as the intrepid detective protagonists venture where no normal detective would dare tread: into the depths of the dark unknown, investigating everything from ancestral homes occupied by evil forces, to haunted surgeons, risking their very sanity as they pursue a myriad of decidedly elusive otherworldly truths. Aficionados of detective fiction, this is a veritably original trove to explore. Joanne Owen BUY DIRECT FROM THE PUBLISHER
One of our Books of the Year 2013. A ‘Ripping Yarn’ of the first order. A romantic adventure with suspense and drama in buckets as we are introduced to Adam Carver and his servant Quint. With heroes and villains, and it is not always clear which is which, we have Victorian London, upper classes and the lowest of the low, with mystery, murder, theft, blackmail, buried Greek treasure, infamy, treachery, bandits and a beautiful maiden. What more could you want? The plot is complex and sinuous but it all becomes clear in the end and right triumphs, justice prevails – of course. Great stuff, a real page-turner which begins a series.
1922 was a year of great turbulence and upheaval. Its events reverberated throughout the rest of the twentieth century and still affect us today, 100 years later. Empires fell. The Ottoman Empire collapsed after more than six centuries. The British Empire had reached its greatest extent but its heyday was over. The Irish Free State was declared and demands for independence in India grew. New nations and new politics came into existence. The Soviet Union was officially created and Mussolini's Italy became the first Fascist state. In the USA, Prohibition was at its height. The Hollywood film industry, although rocked by a series of scandals, continued to grow. A new mass medium - radio - was making its presence felt and, in Britain, the BBC was founded. In literature it was the year of peak modernism. Both T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land and James Joyce's Ulysses were first published in full. In society, already changed by the trauma of war and pandemic, the morals of the past seemed increasingly outmoded; new ways of behaving were making their appearance. The Roaring Twenties had begun to roar and the Jazz Age had arrived. 1922 also saw the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb, the arrest of Mahatma Gandhi, the death of Marcel Proust, the election of a new pope, the release of the first major vampire movie, and the brief imprisonment in Munich of an obscure right-wing demagogue named Adolf Hitler. In a sequence of vividly written sketches, Nick Rennison conjures up all the drama and diversity of an extraordinary year.
Every day, thousands of people worldwide consult Roget's Thesaurus. How many stop to consider why that endlessly useful reference book is so called? How many know anything about the man behind it? Nick Rennison's biography reveals the full story of Roget's involvement with the great issues and the great personalities of the 19th century and recounts the forgotten life behind one of the most famous of all reference books.
Was there ever a real Robin Hood? Nick Rennison looks at the candidates who have been proposed over the years, from petty thieves to Knights Templar, before moving on to examine the many ways in which Robin Hood has been portrayed in literature and on the screen. He began as the hero of dozens of late medieval ballad, and more recently has been portrayed as everything from proto-socialist man of the people to anarchist thug. As the twenty-first century nears the end of its second decade, Robin Hood is still very much with us.
Sherlock Holmes is the most famous of all fictional detectives but, across the Atlantic, he had plenty of rivals. Between 1890 and 1920, American writers created dozens and dozens of crime-solvers. This thrilling, unusual anthology features stories about 15 of them, including Professor Augustus SFX Van Dusen, 'The Thinking Machine', even more cerebral than Holmes; Craig Kennedy, the so-called 'scientific detective'; Uncle Abner, a shrewd backwoodsman in pre-Civil War Virginia; Violet Strange, New York debutante turned criminologist; and Nick Carter, the original pulp private eye. Editor Nick Rennison gathers together often neglected tales which highlight American crime fiction's early years.
Sherlock Holmes was the most famous detective to stride through the pages of late Victorian and Edwardian fiction, but he was not the only one. He had plenty of rivals. Some of the most memorable of these were women: they were 'Sherlock's Sisters'. This exciting, unusual anthology gathers together 15 stories written by women or featuring female detectives. They include Dorcas Dene, Lady Molly of Scotland Yard, Hagar the Gypsy, Judith Lee and Madelyn Mack.
Sherlock Holmes remains the most famous of all fictional detectives. But he was not the only solver of crimes to patrol the gaslit streets of late Victorian and Edwardian London. The years between 1890 and 1914 were the heyday of the English (and American) story magazines and their pages were filled with platoons of private detectives, police officers and eccentric criminologists. These were the 'Rivals of Sherlock Holmes' and this second anthology of stories edited by Nick Rennison, author of Sherlock Holmes: An Unauthorised Biography, highlights fifteen of them.
Sherlock Holmes is the most famous fictional detective ever created. The supremely rational sleuth and his dependable companion, Dr Watson, will forever be associated with the gaslit and smog-filled streets of late nineteenth and early twentieth century London. Yet Holmes and Watson were not the only ones solving mysterious crimes and foiling the plans of villainous masterminds in Victorian and Edwardian England. There were countless imitators in the genre, and this volume highlights some of those 'Rivals of Sherlock Holmes'.
Bram Stoker's Dracula, still the most famous of all vampire stories, was first published in 1897. But the bloodsucking Count was not the only member of the undead to bare his fangs in the literature of the period. Late Victorian and Edwardian fiction is full of vampires and this anthology of scary stories introduces modern readers to fifteen of them. Including works by both well-known writers of the supernatural such as M R James and E F Benson and less familiar authors too, The Rivals of Dracula is a collection of classic tales to chill the blood and tingle the spine.
Connecting people with places, London's distinctive Blue Plaque scheme highlights the buildings where some of the most remarkable men and women in our history and culture have lived and worked. From Richard Burton to Karl Marx, Marie Stopes to Jimi Hendrix, this fully updated 4th edition of The London Blue Plaque Guide has over 900 entries and provides an essential companion to the famous people who have made their homes in the city. It includes updated maps and a useful list of names by profession as well as location. As the definitive guide to the fascinating historical figures who have lived in London, it will be invaluable to residents and tourists alike.
A large number of people each year make their reading decisions on the basis of prizes like the Booker and Orange Guide to Fiction. This new title in the successful Must-Read series provides an overview of prize-winning fiction over the decades. With 100 titles fully featured and over 500 read-on recommendations, this unique survey of literature incorporates some of the finest contemporary fiction ever produced including Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (Booker), Jonathan Coe's What a Carve Up (John Llewellyn Rhys), Andrea Levy's Small Island (Orange), Louis de Bernieres's Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Commonwealth Writers' Prize), Zadie Smith's White Teeth (Guardian First Book Award), Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things (Booker). As well as Booker and Pullitzer prize-winners the book also finds room for those that have triumphed in less familiar prizes, such as the Betty Trask and the John Lewellyn Rhys. It looks at prize winners in certain genres such as crime and science fiction, as well as prize winners from other countries: the French Prix de Goncourt and the Australian Miles Franklin award. Because of the sheer range of prizes across countries and genres - this is a diverse and rich list that no book worm would want to be without.
The essential guide to the wild uncharted world of contemporary and 20th century writing. Robert McCrum, The Observer Deciding what to read next when you've just finished an unputdownable novel can be daunting. The Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide features hundreds of authors and thousands of titles, with navigation features to lead you on a rich journey through some of the best literature to grace our shelves. This greatly expanded edition features 40 new author entries including more recently established authors with a proven body of work: Monica Ali, Anne Enright, Jonathan Franzen and Marina Lewycka, more non-fiction writers (Roger Deakin, Robert Macfarlane, Graham Robb, Kate Summerscale), new sections including 'New Writers to Watch' and 'Forgotten Classics' and major revisions throughout. An accessible and authoritative guide that no serious book lover should be without.
Novels which transform our ideas about human possibilities, biographies which celebrate the achievements of extraordinary individuals, polemical works of non-fiction which oblige us to alter our views of the world or of human society: all of us can remember reading at least one book which made us think about the world anew. Here, the author of the popular Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide, selects the very best books which may or may not have changed the world, but which have certainly changed the lives of thousands of people who have read them. Some examples of titles included: Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - a poignant recording of the author's triumph over the obstacles of being black and poor in a racist society. Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist. Santiago's meeting with the alchemist opens his eyes to the true values of life, love and suffering The Diary of Anne Frank Half a century later the story of a teenager coming to maturity in the most terrible of circumstances remains profoundly moving. Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet Gibran's poetic essays reveal his thoughts on everything in life from love and marriage to the enigmas of birth and death. Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Pirsig's narrator creates a philosophical masterpiece that has the power to change lives.
Want to become a classic novel buff, or expand your reading of some of the finest novels ever published? With 100 of the best titles fully reviewed and a further 500 recommended, you'll quickly set out on a journey of discovery.
Featuring a broad range of contemporary British novelists from Iain Banks to Jeanette Winterson, Louis de Bernieres to Irvine Welsh and Salman Rushdie, this book offers an excellent introductory guide to the contemporary literary scene. Each entry includes concise biographical information on each of the key novelists and analysis of their major works and themes. Fully cross-referenced and containing extensive guides to further reading, Fifty Contemporary British Novelists is the ideal guide to modern British fiction for both the student and the contemporary fiction buff alike.
London's distinctive blue plaques commemorate remarkable men and women who have lived in the capital. This guide describes the careers of nearly 800 individuals; well-known names such as Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, Jimi Hendrix and Florence Nightingale are featured as well as accounts of the antics and achievements of less received figures whose lives have also been commemorated by a blue plaque. Jimi Hendrix, whose flamboyant methods of guitar playing - behind his back, with his teeth - remain strong in public memory, lived next door to a house in which dwelt a very different musician - George Frederick Handel. Listed in alphabetical order and including informative and sometimes irreverant anecdotes about many of the famous, this second edition also includes maps showing the location of plaques in Central London, and illustrations of some of the more remarkable individuals. This edition includes over 60 new entries and a new introduction which includes mention of some of the more distinctive and interesting unofficial plaques.