London: Chapman and Hall, 1863. [Crime Fiction] FINELY BOUND. Two volumes. Octavo (20 x 13cm), pp. xvi; 457 ; pp. xii; 454 . With 40 engraved plates by "Phiz," including a frontispiece to each volume and a decorated title page to volume I. In contemporary aqua full calf by James HAYDAY, with raised bands, gilt titles to red labels on spine, further gilt decoration to spines, and gilt ruling to boards. All edges gilt; marbled endpapers; gilt dentelle to turn-ins. A little light spotting to plates, and and ink stain to margin of p.30 of volume II. Original volume numbers erased (from a larger collected works set), with replacement onlays, and recolouring to labels. Light wear to bindings, with some careful recolouring to spines. Very good. Although many of Dickens most famous works are crawling with crime, it is just this title that can be firmly placed in the murder mystery category. 'Bleak House' is essentially a classic whodunit, professionally solved, which became only the second entry (after Poe's 'Tales') in the Haycraft-Queen cornerstone list of crime fiction. Dickens returned to crime fiction for his highly-rated final story, the 'Mystery of Edwin Drood' but this was unfinished and the case unsolved... Within 'Bleak House' the author experiments with dual narrators and the story ranges from the dark and filthy Victorian slums to the landed aristocracy. Inspector Bucket is one of the earliest detectives to appear in fiction, and was probably based on C.K. Field of the recently-formed Scotland Yard. An essential mystery novel first published in 1853. Item #59141
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