Charles Dickens - Reprinted Pieces
A collection of pieces from Dickens wrote for his journal Household Words in the 1950s. Most of them are sketches, although a few are short stories. They are of uneven interest. The best of them are a series of pieces about London's new detectives that are exciting because you feel you're reading the very inception of the detective novel and the first version of the character that became Inspector Bucket in Bleak House. The sequence of pieces begins with a number of detectives/inspectors coming together to the editorial offices of Household Words and sitting around to share their stories: "They sit down in a semi-circle (the two Inspectors at the two ends) at a little distance from the round table, facing the editorial sofa... We light the cigars, and hand round the glasses (which are very temperately used indeed), and the conversation begins..." What follows are a number of different incident of investigating and apprehending various criminals.
Two of the pieces in the volume are travelogues about France, which are both amusingly written and insightful.
The "Ghost of Art" is, as the title suggests, a ghost story--not close to Dickens' best but interesting nonetheless.
The long voyage -- The begging-letter writer -- A child's dream of a star -- Our English watering-place -- Our French watering-place -- Bill-sticking -- Births: Mrs. Meek, of a son -- Lying awake -- The ghost of art -- Out of town -- Out of the season -- A poor man's tale of a patent -- The noble savage -- A flight -- The detective police -- Three detective anecdotes: The pair of gloves. The artful touch. The sofa -- On duty with Inspector Field -- Down with the tide -- A walk in a workhouse -- Prince Bull: a fairy tale -- A plated article -- Our honourable friend -- Our school -- Our vestry -- Our bore -- A monument of French folly.