1907 sign-up page


I found this 1907 police image under ‘WTF’ in the dictionary.

Every month on Past Offences I gather together blog posts about crime fiction written or filmed in a particular year. I’ve called it Crimes of the Century. This month RogerBW coded himself into picking us a year and plumped for 1907. Bit of a tough one…

If you want to take part, you can! When you’ve written your post, just let me know below. I’ll gather them all together at the end of the month.

Anyone can play, so over to you…

Small print

  • Don’t be shy!
  • Just comment below to link to your blog post.
  • If you want to play but you haven’t got a blog, I’m happy to have you as a guest poster, or to link to Goodreads or Amazon.
  • Books, comics, films, plays and TV also welcome.
  • Sorry in advance if I miss you in the round-up, although I am getting better at that bit.

About pastoffences

Past Offences exists to review classic crime and mystery books, with ‘classic’ meaning books originally published before 1987.
This entry was posted in Crime fiction of the year challenge, Crimes of the Century, Information Received and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to 1907 sign-up page

  1. Brad says:

    Not sure I can handle this pre-GAD year myself, but there turn out to be some classics from this year, like Mystery of the Yellow Room and The Circular Staircase!


  2. For those who have too much time on their hands or need something to procrastinate with then you can always scroll through this list from the gadetection which shows quite a number of 1907 stories. Whether you can find copies of them is a different matter.

    I’m hoping to review The Red Thumb Mark by Freeman. Didn’t have much luck with Mr Polton Explains (a most painfully boring book – avoid at all costs), but I’m hoping for a better experience with this book.


  3. John says:

    The Circular Staircase was published in 1908. Rinehart has nothing from 1907, I already checked. She and Anna Katharine Green were the first writers I thought about for this very early year. Here’s what I found:

    Arsene Lupin, Gentleman Burglar by Maurice Leblanc (the other French guy)

    The Mystery by Samuel Hopkins Adams & Sterling Edward White
    The Thinking Machine by Jacques Futrelle (very easy to find in Dover reprint editions, probably in ebooks too.)
    The Mayor’s Wife by Anna Katharine Green
    The Brass Bowl by Louis Joseph Vance
    The Black Bag by Vance, also counts; it was originally published in 1907 as a serial.

    The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
    The Ivory God (stories) by J. S. Fletcher, also The Queen of the Day
    The Red Thumb Mark by R. Austin Freeman
    The Yellow Hunchback by Fergus Hume (also The Purple Fern, neither of which I’ve ever seen. Amazingly, there’s a single copy of Purple Fern for sale. Only US$98 plus shipping from Canada. Any takers?)
    A slew of books by prolific espionage writer William LeQueux, but these are mostly spy novels and adventure thrillers
    The Avenger [aka The Conspirators] by E. Phillips Oppenheim (what a truckful of books he wrote!)
    The Diamond Ship by Max Pemberton
    The Mystery of Lady Isobel by E. R. Punshon

    I really had to dig deep to come up with some of these writers. So many of them are truly forgotten. I have very few of the books listed above. For once in along while this one is going to be tough for me!

    Interestingly, Willard Huntington Wright’s first work of fiction is from 1907. Anyone want to track down a copy of All-Story Magazine, July 1907. His story “Obsession” is in there. Wonder if it has any trace of Philo Vance in it?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jason Half says:

    Thank you Kate for the PBWiki link and John for the list of titles. Project Gutenberg has the text for Oppenheim’s The Avenger (published a year earlier as The Conspirators, which places it in 1907). There are probably other early mystery/crime titles to be found through public domain download sites for this year as well. I plan to keep poking around for other prospects before committing to Mr. Oppenheim…



  5. There’s also Gaston Leroux’s The Mystery of the Yellow Room (Le mystère de la chambre jaune) which began serialization in Sep 1907. But this is way out of my era of expertise!


  6. Jose Ignacio says:

    It will be a good opportunity for me to read THE SECRET AGENT.


  7. Bev Hankins says:

    Not sure that I’ll be playing this time around. Unless you’ll take my previous review of “The Mystery of the Yellow Room.” I’ve been doing a perpetual challenge called “A Century of Books” and had to dig to find a 1907 book for that. I wound up reading Nesbitt’s “The Enchanted Castle.”


    • Bev Hankins says:

      Okay–I’ve found a few promising ones on Project Gutenberg. I believe I’ll be giving “The Rome Express” by Arthur O. Scott a try.


      • pastoffences says:

        How are you searching Gutenberg Bev? I find it almost impossible to search by year.


      • Santosh Iyer says:

        The author is Arthur Griffiths. Arthur O Scott is the illustrator.


      • Bev Hankins says:

        Thanks, Santosh. Rich, Gutenberg is tricky and I don’t use it much (because I try very hard to just read books off my TBR stacks)–I have to go in with a list in hand and look for authors and/or titles. I did a couple of searches on-line for 1907 authors (and used the lists already provided here) to hunt for authors. I can’t even tell you at this point how I dug this one up…


  8. RogerBW says:

    I have previously reviewed Three Men and a Maid by “Robert Fraser” – it’s freely available as etext, for example at http://manybooks.net/titles/fraserrother08three_men_and_a_maid.html , and one of my reasons for picking this specific year is to bring it to a wider audience. (I’m trying for the Yellow Room myself.)


  9. John says:

    If no one goes with the easiest to find choice of The Thinking Machine, then I’ll do that one. One buck Kindle version and no takers? I’m shocked. Is it because it’s a story collection rather than a novel that no one has yet claimed it?

    Amazingly, when I made my list above it was through internet and library research only. When I went home I found that nearly all of the US titles in that list are on my shelves! I even have a copy of the first Arsene Lupin collection that I had forgotten about. Turns out to be easier than I thought it would be.


    • Jason Half says:

      John, I admire the breadth of your bookshelves! Even with the 1930 challenge, I needed to order titles from the university library system because my home collection doesn’t generally start until the mid ’30s for publication date. (Authors like Conan Doyle, Freeman, and Chesterton are exceptions.) To have several mysteries from the start of the 20th century within reach is impressive.

      If you haven’t read Futrelle’s Thinking Machine stories, definitely do so. I teach a mystery fiction summer course for junior high students, and “The Problem of Cell 13” is definitely a highlight for them. It also helps introduce the concepts of fair play and suspension of disbelief to this age group…

      I’ve long enjoyed your website and greatly look forward to reading your review!


      • John says:

        So far I’ve read only two of the Prof. Van Dusen stories so I’m eager to dig into the entire collection. “…Cell 13” was my earliest introduction to Golden Age mystery fiction other than Sherlock Holmes. I read it ages ago in a school textbook. I also have the only Prof. van Dusen novel — actually novella — which I may read and review even though it came a bit later than 1907.

        Thanks for the blogging compliment. Your Gladys Mitchell website, BTW, is a godsend to mystery fans. Without it I’d never have known anything about the Malcom Torrie books (which it turns out I didn’t like, but hey can’t love everything!). I was seriously addicted to that website when I was doing nothing but selling mysteries online ten years ago. Helped me greatly in choosing the right Mitchell books to read and purchase, plus was a boon with writing catalog descriptions for the titles I ended up selling. So likewise, Jason!


      • Jason Half says:

        Hi John — Thanks for the reply and for the kind words; it’s always lovely to hear that one’s summaries and reviews are helpful to other readers, and I feel that sharing of knowledge and opinion applies to the many detective fiction fans who congregate here and maintain sites and blogs. The Gladys Mitchell site was begun in 1999, and it shows in its design. I keep promising to give it a visual overhaul to make it more attractively up-to-date, but have not yet managed it. Still, the content doesn’t really go out of fashion (unless I revisit a book and have a vastly different experience with it from the first time, which does happen…). But thank you.

        The link to your great Pretty Sinister site and to blogs of many others in the group have finally been added in a sidebar on my jasonhalf.com site. If anyone I missed wants to be added to the roll call, just send me a message and I will be happy to add you! Cheers —

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I hope to join in and go head-to-head with Jose Ignacio on Conrad’s THE SECRET AGENT


  11. pastoffences says:

    I am now fully 1907’d up: no less than five titles on my Kindle and a lot of travel time coming up…


  12. Must say these early years don’t really get my juices flowing but I found The Red Thumb Mark free on kindle so I’ll have a go at that. Neither my own shelves nor my library system’s have anything much to offer


  13. I’m resorting to The Red Thumb Mark too. Never tried Freeman before, so fingers crossed


  14. Pingback: Robert Fraser: Three Men and a Maid | Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

  15. Jason Half says:

    So: I spent the last four evenings attempting to read THE GREAT SKENE MYSTERY by Bernard Edward Joseph Capes. The prose is so archaic and wry that I have been instantly put to sleep every time, and haven’t gotten past page 20. Here’s an example of Capes’s caprice:

    “When I say that her marriage had socially elevated her from the ground to the leaf, without her quite shaking off the dust of her origin, I may be understood to imply that her beauty, and no exceptional quality in addition, was her fine recommendation.”

    I give up on this one. I’m switching to my original choice, THE AVENGER (or The Conspirators) by E. Phillips Oppenheim.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Brad says:

      Jason, with one wry comment and an apt example, you make me feel even more relieved that I will be sitting 1907 out and leaving the work in the hands of better minds than my own.

      Liked by 1 person

    • pastoffences says:

      I’m filing that one away to drop into conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

    • John says:

      Last year I attempted to read Capes’ THE SKELTON KEY (reissued as THE MYSTERY OF THE SKELETON KEY) which had nearly the same effect on me. While I didn’t fall asleep at the wheel, I was bored out of my mind. I had a hell of time trying to make sense of it all. With every other page long paragraph I couldn’t comprehend a word of what he had written. Gave up after 30 or so pages.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: The Red Thumb Mark (1907) by R. Austin Freeman | crossexaminingcrime

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  18. Jason Half says:

    My review of THE AVENGER by E. Phillips Oppenheim:


    Thanks, Roger and Rich!

    Liked by 1 person

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  20. JJ says:

    Here’s a look at a couple of impossible crime ghost stories from 1907 that’s also self-promotion and a whole host of extra stuff too…


  21. John says:

    In celebration of Halloween I chose a haunted house story with a minor murder mystery element: The Feast of Bacchus by Ernest G Henham. Eerie, evocative, lushly written and altogether unique in both supernatural and mystery fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. RogerBW says:

    My new review for the month: The Mystery of the Yellow Room. Overblown and self-satisfied, and that’s just the detective…


  23. Pingback: Review: The Secret Agent (1907) by Joseph Conrad | A Crime is Afoot

  24. Jose Ignacio says:

    My review of The Secret Agent is at https://jiescribano.wordpress.com/2016/10/28/review-the-secret-agent-1907-by-joseph-conrad/
    Currently reading Gaston Leroux’s The Mystery of the Yellow Room but I’m afraid I wont have my review ready on time.


  25. John says:

    I managed one more though once again it’s leans heavily on the supernatural fiction side rather than crime fiction. As I view the work all of it can be considered mystery fiction. One story qualifies completely as a crime story, though it’s not a detective story. And it’s one helluva creepy crime tale. The book is a short story collection: The Listener by Algernon Blackwood.


  26. Trying v hard to get The Red Thumb Mark finished by tomorrow – fingers crossed…


  27. Pingback: The Red Thumb Mark by R Austin Freeman – In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel

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