London: Bradbury and Evans, 1853. [Crime Fiction] FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE. Octavo (22 x 15cm), pp.xvi; 624 . Typographical errors present in the first issue: p.19, line 6, 'elgble'; p.209, line 23, 'chair' instead of 'hair; and p.275, line 22, 'counsinship' instead of 'cousinship'. Lacks the half-title. With 40 engraved illustrations by H.K. Browne, including a frontispiece and vignette title page. Including clear early impressions of the 'dark' plates. Contemporary green half calf, with raise bands, gilt titles to red label, gilt decoration to spine, and matching cloth over boards. All edges and endpapers marbled. Moderate spotting to plates, with some light spotting to facing leaves, otherwise internally clean. Hinges starting but remaining firm. Plate to face p.530 misbound facing p.513. Heavy wear to to spine; moderate to boards. 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. Item #64312
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