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Ernest Bramah (1868–1942)

Author of Kai Lung's Golden Hours

62+ Works 1,450 Members 37 Reviews 14 Favorited

About the Author


Works by Ernest Bramah

Kai Lung's Golden Hours (1922) 331 copies
Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat (1928) 241 copies
The Wallet of Kai Lung (1900) 236 copies
Max Carrados (1914) 68 copies
The Tales of Max Carrados (2015) 55 copies
Max Carrados Mysteries (1927) 52 copies
The Eyes of Max Carrados (1923) 47 copies
The Mirror of Kong Ho (1971) 42 copies
The Secret Of The League (1907) 37 copies
The Return of Kai Lung (1932) 21 copies
Kai Lung Raises His Voice (2010) 16 copies
The Kai Lung Omnibus (1936) 9 copies
The Specimen Case (1924) 9 copies
The Bravo of London (1934) 8 copies
Kai Lung: Six (1974) 8 copies
The celestial omnibus (1936) 6 copies
The Bunch of Violets (1924) 3 copies
The transmutation of Ling (1911) 2 copies
Smothered in Corpses (2019) 1 copy
Golden Hours 1 copy
Short Stories (1929) 1 copy
A Little Flutter (1930) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes: Early Detective Stories (1970) — Contributor — 309 copies
The Omnibus of Crime (1929) — Contributor — 205 copies
The Further Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (1973) — Contributor — 184 copies
Blood on the Tracks (2018) — Contributor — 166 copies
Murder at the Manor: Country House Mysteries (2016) — Contributor — 159 copies
Shadows of Sherlock Holmes (Wordsworth Collection) (1998) — Contributor — 148 copies
Discoveries in Fantasy (1972) — Contributor — 120 copies
Bodies from the Library (2018) — Contributor — 108 copies
Crime and Mystery Short Stories (2016) — Contributor — 66 copies
Great Short Novels of Adult Fantasy Volume II (1973) — Contributor — 64 copies
Tales of Detection (1940) — Contributor — 54 copies
The Penguin Classic Crime Omnibus (1984) — Contributor — 54 copies
Fourteen Great Detective Stories (1928) — Contributor — 36 copies
The World's Great Detective Stories (1927) — Contributor — 31 copies
Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery, and Horror (1928) — Contributor — 31 copies
The Mystery Book (1934) — Contributor — 28 copies
Epic Fantasy Short Stories (Gothic Fantasy) (2019) — Contributor — 28 copies
Sporting Blood: The Great Sports Detective Stories (1942) — Contributor — 25 copies
Agents & Spies Short Stories (Gothic Fantasy) (2018) — Contributor — 25 copies
The Boys' Second Book of Great Detective Stories (1940) — Contributor — 24 copies
The World's Best One Hundred Detective Stories, Volume 8 (1929) — Contributor — 23 copies
The Pocket Book of Great Detectives (1941) — Contributor — 21 copies
Ellery Queen's Twentieth Century Detective Stories (1964) — Contributor — 20 copies
Great English Short Stories (1930) — Contributor — 20 copies
Great detective stories (1998) — Contributor — 20 copies
A Century of Detective Stories (1935) — Contributor — 20 copies
The Second Century of Detective Stories (1938) — Contributor — 12 copies
Crime and Detection (1926) — Contributor — 11 copies
My Best Detective Story (1931) — Contributor — 9 copies
Alfred Hitchcock's Fatal Attractions (1983) — Contributor — 7 copies
Verdens største detektiver II (1995) — Contributor — 5 copies
Verdens største detektiver I (1995) — Contributor — 4 copies
Detective-verhalen — Contributor — 3 copies
Georgian Stories 1924 — Contributor — 2 copies
The Detective in Fiction: A Posse of Eight — Contributor — 2 copies
Great Stories of Detection (1960) — Contributor — 2 copies
31 stories by thirty and one authors — Contributor — 2 copies


Common Knowledge



substitute for ACTUAL title - could not match isbn to lists available
Overgaard | 1 other review | Aug 12, 2022 |
A sequence of short stories which are meant to seem as if translated from Japanese. Most of the tales focus on the poor but noble triumphing over the rich but corrupt. The later tales seem to hold a bit more humour than the earlier stuff and i really felt it improved as it went. I only read part of this and listened to the rest from Libravox.
Heres a little sample of the kind of writing your in for: 'A sedan-chair! A sedan-chair! This person will unhesitatingly exchange his entire and well-regulated Empire for such an article'
I assume everyone will recognise this disguised shakespeare quote which is attributed to a famous japanese writer in one of the stories :lol . I actually wonder whether the entire book was written in normal english then parsed into this faux japanese afterward.
Because its supposed to be japanese everyone is very polite which means a great deal of passive aggressive dialogue which i found quite entertaining. Overall probably a lot easier to listen to than read, i quite liked it especially the latter third.
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wreade1872 | 3 other reviews | Nov 28, 2021 |
Ernest Bramah’s The Eyes of Max Carrados, a brick-sized entry in the Wordsworth “Tales of Mystery and the Supernatural” series, collects all 26 Max Carrados mysteries, originally published in several volumes during the first quarter of the 20th century. Max Carrados is one of the truly unique detectives in the entire genre: he is blind, but has compensated for that impairment by some remarkable enhancements to his other senses - a very subtle, but very effective, array of superpowers that give him an edge in solving his baffling cases. The basic setup of the stories is that Louis Carlyle, an inquiry agent, functions as Carrados’s associate, bringing each of the cases to him. Carrados zeroes in on the most obscure details to find relevant clues. And the urbane and witty interplay between Carrados and Carlyle is quite engaging, with suspects, clues, and motives duly bantered about. Most of the stories are fun and intriguing, though some do tend to drag a bit. Highly recommended, particularly for aficionados of vintage Edwardian mysteries.… (more)
ghr4 | Oct 29, 2020 |
The first decade of the 20th century was a boom period for scare-fiction of various kinds — probably the most famous, William Lequeux's The invasion of 1910, appeared the year before this book, as did H.G. Wells's In the days of the comet (and The war of the worlds eight years before that). Chesterton's The Napoleon of Notting Hill came out in 1904 and The man who was Thursday in 1908, and even Joseph Conrad had a go with The secret agent in 1907. By 1909, the whole thing was such a cliché that P.G. Wodehouse came out with a parody version, The Swoop, in which "England was not merely beneath the heel of the invader. It was beneath the heels of nine invaders. There was barely standing-room." — but fortunately, Clarence the Boy-Scout is on hand to save the situation.

Where others saw the danger in Germans or Martians or anarchists or chemical catastrophe, Bramah's scare-novel of 1907 is meant to awaken his compatriots to an even more serious lurking peril: the English working-class and its poisonous socialistic ambitions. The story opens in the near future (1916), in a slightly alternative world where flying is an elegant human-powered activity for the wealthy (like cycling in its early days) and where messages can be transmitted by a kind of wireless fax system (which oddly seems to have exactly the same size of address space as our familiar IP v5 - set by eight sixteen-position selectors).

Instead of getting a mere 29 seats as Keir Hardie really did in 1906 (Daniel Jencka oddly calls this election a "Labour landslide" in his Introduction), Labour have been solidly in power for some ten years, and have been grinding the faces of the rich with horrendous taxes on share dividends, First Class railway tickets, domestic servants, and similar necessities of everyday life, all the while cutting spending on the armed forces and letting colonies drop away into independence. In the latest election, however, Labour have been pushed out by even more hard-line socialists, who are threatening to do things like introduce worker representatives on company boards, set a minimum wage, and impose taxes on personal wealth. Bramah is a lot vaguer about what these governments are doing with the money they take in — there are brief passing mentions of horrific ideas like the eight-hour day and sick-pay, but the general impression we are supposed to get is that socialism is all about taking money away from the taxpayer.

Naturally enough, the right-thinking middle and upper classes are getting restive, and an enigmatic resistance organisation — "The League" — is set up under the leadership of English-Gentleman Sir John Hampden and Intrepid-Man-of-Action "George Salt", assisted by the feisty lady office-worker Miss Irene Lisle. After much obfuscation, it turns out that their tactic for bringing the government down is to organise a consumer boycott of coal, which of course puts the socialists at odds with their key supporters in the mining districts, and provokes a vaguely Chestertonian showdown in early 1919.

Daniel Jencka, who edited the book for its 1995 reprint by Specular Press, sees this as a key piece of early "capitalist fiction", but that seems to an unwarrantably American reading of things. Bramah isn't a precursor of Ayn Rand, lauding individualism and the wisdom of the free market (what's individualistic or free about a boycott?). This isn't a book about economics, however much it might sound like that: it's good old British class prejudice. Bramah's argument against socialism (and democracy) is quite simply the horribly offensive notion you still occasionally come across, that working-class people are not intelligent and responsible enough to be given control over their own lives. If you give "them" the eight-hour day, "they" will spend the other sixteen hours of it drinking and making babies. "They" talk in dialect, haven't been to Oxford or Cambridge, and don't have "a stake in the country". Etc.

It's a book that reads weirdly to readers a century later, because almost everything Bramah rails against, from processed breakfast cereal to minimum wages and universal suffrage, is something we accept without question nowadays as a necessary component of a moderately fair and free society. As he's not the most inspired and competent of satirists, it is sometimes only the context that makes it clear that we are meant to be disapproving of the things he's telling us about. Of course, it was also bad luck for Bramah that we now remember the years 1916-1919 for something rather different — although it's interesting to speculate on whether the First World War could have been prevented by the sort of disarmament Bramah condemns.

It's also a rather clumsy book: the adventure story element feels rather rudimentary and bolted-on, and we spend too much time in endless conferences of the Socialist cabinet ministers whilst the action happens offstage and largely in secret. Miss Lisle is meant to be the heroine, but she gets very little to do except send faxes and look decorative.

What did rescue it a little for me was the entertaining business of watching the editor flounder through the business of annotating the book. Back in 1995, we didn't have Google and Wikipedia, so it was a lot harder to research stuff outside your own field (I don't know what Jencka's background is, but he's obviously not an expert on turn of the century London). Sitting in a library in Georgia, you would have to make a few inspired guesses and leaf through a lot of old issues of Lloyd's List to find out what Bramah is referring to when he talks about admirals who got their only experience on the deck of the Koh-I-Noor: it was a paddle-steamer that used to take holidaymakers from London to Southend. This is one of the many references that left Jencka baffled (and he sportingly admits it!), but of course these days it's the sort of thing you can dig out in a quarter of an hour without any real expertise. And it's a joke that W.S. Gilbert did rather better some years earlier ("that junior partnership, I ween, / Was the only ship that I ever had seen"). Oddly, Jencka doesn't comment on Bramah's choice of the name "Sir John Hampden" for his leading character: does he find this too obvious for his American readers to need telling?

The period detail was quite interesting, but the book itself is neither entertaining nor edifying, so it's probably one to avoid.
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thorold | 2 other reviews | Jul 28, 2020 |



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