Nick Rennison - Author

About the Author

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.

Featured books by Nick Rennison

1922 Scenes from a Turbulent Year

1922 Scenes from a Turbulent Year

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/11/2021

Nick Rennison has quite the résumé as man of letters. Variously a writer, editor and bookseller, he has reviewed for the Sunday Times, The Daily Mail and BBC History Magazine, penned half a dozen anthologies of short stories, written two crime novels and three non-fiction titles and otherwise exercised his particular interest in the Victorian era. With his latest work he delves into more recent history and takes us on a month by month tour of the events that defined this tumultuous year, bookended by the notorious ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle scandal in January and ending with the lesser known, but no less scandalous, Thompson and Bywaters murder and adultery trail. There’s plenty in here of the notable headline happenings; US prohibition, the founding of the BBC, the publications of The Waste Land and Ulysses, Ghandis’ arrest, Tutankhamun’s discovery, the creation of the Soviet Union and much, much more to make this a rich and informative read. But what really sets this apart from being a mere almanack of facts is Rennison’s ability to create colour and tone within each scene so that the whole reads as a gripping account of a world in a state of vibrant flux . In this fascinating, illustrative  - and at times cautionary  - small volume he has created a wonderful jigsaw puzzle where each piece, each small scene, builds to become a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, and in so doing Rennison provides a timely reminder that our present is future’s history and we will be lauded, or judged, accordingly. 

Supernatural Sherlocks

Supernatural Sherlocks

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/10/2017

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

eBooks of the Month
Carver's Quest

Carver's Quest

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/11/2013

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.

eBooks of the Month

Other books by Nick Rennison

1922

1922

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/03/2022

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. In a sequence of vividly written sketches, Nick Rennison conjures up all the drama and diversity of an extraordinary year.

Robin Hood

Robin Hood

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/01/2022

Robin Hood is England's greatest folk hero. Everyone knows the story of the outlaw who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. Nick Rennison's highly entertaining book begins with the search for the historical Robin. Was there ever a real Robin Hood? 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 ballads. He appeared in plays by contemporaries of Shakespeare. In the Romantic era Robin was reinvented by Walter Scott as a Saxon champion in the struggle against the Normans. During the nineteenth century, he emerged as a hero in children's literature. More recently he has been portrayed as everything from proto-socialist man of the people to anarchist thug. In the cinema he put in an appearance as early as 1908 and Douglas Fairbanks and then Errol Flynn turned him into the typical hero of Hollywood swashbucklers. In the last twenty years, Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe have provided their own very different interpretations of the character. On the small screen, Robin has been the hero of half-a-dozen TV shows from the 1950s series starring Richard Greene, which used many writers blacklisted by Hollywood, via the well-remembered Robin of Sherwood in the 1980s to the recent BBC series. As the twenty-first century nears the end of its second decade, Robin Hood is still very much with us. He is the subject of graphic novels and computer games and films, including the new Lionsgate release in November 2018.

Roget: The Man Who Became A Book

Roget: The Man Who Became A Book

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/01/2022

Every day thousands of people worldwide consult Roget's Thesaurus. How many stop to consider why that endlessly useful reference book is so called? Of those who know that it owes its name to the man who first devised it, how many know anything more about him? Yet Peter Mark Roget was one of the most remarkable men of the nineteenth century and he achieved much in his long life. He did not even begin the great work of classification which bears his name until he was 70. Before that, the polymathic Roget had already made his own contributions to knowledge in a dozen different fields from optics and anatomy to mathematics and education. He would probably have been surprised that his posthumous reputation rests on his thesaurus. No doubt he would have expected that it would be his involvement in the foundation of the University of London that would be his lasting legacy. Or his books on magnetism, galvanism and physiology. Or his scientific papers on persistence of vision, with their later impact on the development of motion pictures. Or his association with major thinkers such as the computer pioneer Charles Babbage and the philosopher Jeremy Bentham. The range of his interests was astonishing and, for sixty years, he was at the centre of the intellectual revolution of his times. Nick Rennison's biography reveals the full story of Roget's involvement with the great issues and the great personalities of the nineteenth century and recounts the forgotten life behind one of the most famous of all reference books.

American Sherlocks

American Sherlocks

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/03/2021

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. In this thrilling, unusual anthology, editor Nick Rennison gathers together 15 often neglected tales to highlight American crime fiction's early years. The detectives that feature include 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.

Sherlock's Sisters

Sherlock's Sisters

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/09/2020

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. Editor Nick Rennison has already compiled several highly entertaining collections of stories from what he considers a golden age of crime fiction, including The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, More Rivals of Sherlock Holmes and Supernatural Sherlocks. His latest anthology turns the spotlight on the women detectives who could more than match their male counterparts.

More Rivals of Sherlock Holmes

More Rivals of Sherlock Holmes

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/05/2019

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: Mr Booth created by Herbert Keen Max Carrados created by Ernest Bramah Florence Cusack created by LT Meade and Robert Eustace John Dollar, 'The Crime Doctor' created by EW Hornung Dick Donovan created by JE Preston Muddock Horace Dorrington created by Arthur Morrison Martin Hewitt created by Arthur Morrison Judith Lee created by Richard Marsh Madelyn Mack created by Hugh Cosgro Weir Lady Molly of Scotland Yard created by Baroness Orczy Addington Peace created by Fletcher Robinson Mark Poignand and Kala Persad created by Headon Hill John Pym created by David Christie Murray Christopher Quarles created by Percy Brebner John Thorndyke created by R Austin Freeman

The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes

The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/11/2016

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. The years between 1890 and 1914 were a golden age for English magazines and most of them published crime and detective fiction. The startling success of the Holmes stories that appeared in The Strand magazine spawned countless imitators. This volume highlights some of those 'Rivals of Sherlock Holmes'. In the fifteen tales which Nick Rennison has brought together in this anthology, readers can meet: THE THINKING MACHINE - Jacques Futrelle's dazzlingly intellectual genius Professor Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen, aka the Thinking Machine, even more capable than Holmes himself of solving the most baffling of mysteries through brainpower alone CARNACKI THE GHOST FINDER - detective of the occult created by the legendary horror writer William Hope Hodgson, author of The House on the Borderlands EUGENE VALMONT - a sophisticated and urbane French detective, created by Robert Barr, who lives in exile in London and uses his Gallic wit and wisdom to learn the truth about the mysteries that regularly come his way NOVEMBER JOE - Hesketh Prichard's Canadian woodsman who uses his extraordinary powers of observation to track down villains and bring them to justice It may well be true that there never has been and never will be a detective quite like Sherlock Holmes but he did not stand alone. He did have his rivals and, as this collection of short stories shows, many of their adventures were as exciting and entertaining as those of the master himself.

The Rivals of Dracula

The Rivals of Dracula

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/10/2015

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. A travel writer in Sweden unleashes something awful from an ancient mausoleum. A psychic detective battles a vampire that has taken refuge in an Egyptian mummy. A nightmare becomes reality in the tower room of a gloomy country house. The Rivals of Dracula is a collection of classic tales to chill the blood and tingle the spine, including the following stories: Alice & Claude Askew - 'Aylmer Vance and the Vampire' EF Benson - 'The Room in the Tower' Mary Cholmondeley - 'Let Loose' Ulric Daubeny - 'The Sumach' Augustus Hare - 'The Vampire of Croglin Grange' Julian Hawthorne - 'Ken's Mystery' E and H Heron - 'The Story of Baelbrow' MR James - 'Count Magnus' Vernon Lee - 'Marsyas in Flanders' Richard Marsh - 'The Mask' Hume Nisbet - 'The Vampire Maid' Frank Norris - 'Grettir at Thorhall-stead' Phil Robinson - 'Medusa' HB Marriott Watson - 'The Stone Chamber'

The London Blue Plaque Guide: Fourth Edition

The London Blue Plaque Guide: Fourth Edition

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/08/2015

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.

100 Must-read Prize-Winning Novels

100 Must-read Prize-Winning Novels

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/09/2010

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.

Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide

Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/11/2009

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.

100 Must-read Life-Changing Books

100 Must-read Life-Changing Books

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/09/2008

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.

100 Must-read Classic Novels

100 Must-read Classic Novels

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/10/2006

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.

Contemporary British Novelists

Contemporary British Novelists

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/11/2004

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.

The London Blue Plaque Guide

The London Blue Plaque Guide

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/1980

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.

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