Created by Carolyn Wells (1862-1942)
One of those exasperatingly perfect "master detectives" so popular in the early twentieth century was Carolyn Wells' FLEMING STONE, a quiet scholarly type, fond of good books and better manners, who is invariably called in to solve some invariably "impossible" crime when all the resources of local law enforcement have failed.
Fortunately for him, Stone is one hell of a dick, what Wells herself tagged a "transcendant Detective." He invariably cracks the case and then proceeds to patiently explain it all to the mere mortals gathered around.
He sees all, he knows all. Don't it make ya just wanna kick him in the Fleming pants?
But "The Great Man" proved exceedingly popular with readers of the time, appearing in over sixty novels throughout the early half of the century -- although the author's 1918 marriage to Hadwin Houghton, heir of the Houghton-Mifflin publishing empire might have had a little something to do with the series longevity, as well.
Fleming was based in New York, but he occasionally traveled, venturing to all the hot spots where a better class of corpse could be found: Long Island, Conneticutt, Boston.
And, per the era, although he considered himself a private investigator, financial recompense was rare.
Author Wells wrote over 170 books in her lifetime. Initially she focussed on poetry and children's fiction, but after hearing one of Anna Katherine Green's mystery novels being read aloud in 1910 or so, she devoted herself almost exclusively to the mystery genre. She's best known for creating Fleming Stone, but wrote numerous other series, including one featuring Kenneth Carlisle, another New York private detective. She also wrote The Technique of the Mystery Story (1913), which is generally considered the first book on how to create crime fiction, which Bill Pronzini claims is "far more readable today than her novels."
Reespectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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