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‘The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin,’ Vol. 1

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, July 31, 2017 in Occult Detective, Reprints, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

‘The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin,’ Vol. 1

'The Horror on the Links: The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin,' Vol. 1I had previously posted on Dr. Jules de Grandin, one of my favorite occult detectives, though he’s probably overlooked today. Created by Seabury Quinn (1889-1969), de Grandin ran for over 90 stories in Weird Tales, from 1925 to 1951.

I was fortunate to obtain the six books of de Grandin stories edited by Robert Weinberg in the 1970s, and always wanted to read more of the originals. Weinberg had selected what he felt was the best of the stories in those six books, and had apparently put together a list of what would appear in the next six. I always would have liked to know what he had planned.

The only complete reprint of all the de Grandin stories has been a set of three large and very pricey volumes from the Battered Silicon Dispatch Box. I had always hoped for a more reasonably priced set.

Now finally we have one. The BSDB is working with Night Shade Books to put out all 93 stories in five volumes in The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin. The first volume, The Horror on the Links, is out, with the second and third scheduled. These are in hardback, but not too pricey, and maybe paperbacks will follow. All can be ordered from Amazon.

So for those who haven’t read my previous posting, here’s a little review. De Grandin is both a medical doctor and a former agent of the French Sûreté, or national police force, and is like a blonde Hercule Poirot, with his strange French sayings. Creating a similar situation to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, he lives in semi-retirement with his friend Dr. Trowbridge in Harrisonville, N.J., where most stories are set. For such a small town, a lot of weird things happened there.

The first volume, The Horror of the Links, has 21 stories, starting from the first one “The Horror of the Links,” which appeared in October 1925, through “The Chapel of Mystic Horror,” from December 1928. Basically the first four years of the series. In looking over the list of stories, I was surprised to see that most of the stories, 15 of them, were reprinted in Weinberg’s collections! Four of those were also reprinted in the old Arkham House collection, The Phantom Fighter. So there are actually only six stories I haven’t already read!

What I also noticed, being able to read the stories in order was that de Grandin didn’t live with Trowbridge in Harrisonville at first.  They met there in the first story, but in the next two they happened to meet overseas and solved cases together, with de Grandin re-visiting Trowbridge in Harrisonville in the fourth, and with the fifth seems to have settled in there.  Necessary for a good continued series.

In addition to the stories we get an introduction from the late Robert Weinberg and George Vanderburgh, who is the editor of this series and the person behind the Battered Silicon Dispatch Box. This intro gives a good overview of the series and points out some of the better stories.

I wish that they had reprinted some of the art from the original stories. The table of contents even points out which stories had cover art. It would have been nice to included those with the stories.

The next volume, The Devil’s Rosary, will be out in September, with volume 3, The Dark Angel, coming in March of next year. Each has about the same amount of stories, though The Dark Angel also contains the only de Grandin novel, the serialized Devil’s Bride. Can’t wait!

One Comment

  1. I second your recommendation. I’ve really enjoyed these stories over the years. My wife is also a big fan and several years ago, when they first came out, I got her the BSDB editions for Christmas. (And read them myself.) Quality of individual stories vary, of course, but the vast majority are well worthwhile. You can also find many of the stories reprinted in many issues (not all, so check if you’re specifically looking for them) in the 1960’s/1970’s magazine STARTLING MYSTERY STORIES, edited by Robert Lowndes. This magazine is also generally worthwhile, as well as its companion THE MAGAZINE OF HORROR, because they reprint some decent stories and are available for decent prices on eBay (except for the issue that has Stephen King’s first published story, which is available at an outrageous price).