Late Victorian Crime Fiction in the Shadows of Sherlock by Clare Clarke (auth.)

By Clare Clarke (auth.)

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Sample text

No gentleman but wishes to avoid a scene’ (8). He agrees to pay the child’s father one hundred pounds but does not have enough cash on his person. Therefore, he enters the building with the ‘blistered and distained’ door and returns minutes later with a cheque signed by the eminent and well-known Dr Jekyll (6). To Enfield the ‘business’ of Hyde having another man’s cheque seems ‘apocryphal’ and he speculates that for ‘a gentleman’ to ‘walk into a cellar door at four in the morning and come out of it with another man’s cheque for close upon a hundred pounds’ indicates some sort of a sordid secret or bond (8).

An examination of some of the statements made by parliamentary members during the debates on the ensuing Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 25 Criminal Law Amendment Bill (to raise the age of consent from 13 to 16) appears also to confirm Stead’s initial accusations about the tendencies of the lawmakers and their peers to cover up these crimes or to look the other way. One member of the House of Lords points out that ‘very few of their Lordships ... had not, when young men, been guilty of immorality’, and cautions members to ‘pause before passing a clause within the range of which their sons might come’ (qtd in Walkowitz 103–4).

He has nerve and he has knowledge’ (Doyle, ‘The Speckled Band’ 574). Elsewhere, the figure of the corrupt detective who is implicated in the crime and the outwardly respectable criminal appeared again in novels and collections such as in Morrison’s The Dorrington Deed-Box (1897), Allen’s ‘The Great Ruby Robbery’ (1892) and An African Millionaire (1897), Zangwill’s The Big Bow Mystery (1891), Boothby’s A Prince of Swindlers (1897) and Hornung’s Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman (1899), amongst others.

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