1st Duke of Abercorn, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland,
and, last but surely not least, father of a mystery writer
6th Duke of Bedford,
Lord Ernest Hamilton's maternal grandfather
Both Perils of Josephine and Tragedies of Memworth (particularly the former tale) bear resemblance to the Victorian triple-decker sensation novel associated with Wilkie Collins and Mary Elizabeth Braddon, among others. A contemporary review of Perils of Josephine, in which rather bored reference is made to Lord Ernest leading the title character, Josephine ("that unhappy young person"), "through a series of experiences with bolting horses, sliding panels, crazed cousins, wicked priests, and burning houses," gives some idea of the style in which it was written (yes, it even draws on traditional English anti-Catholicism).
|Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Queen of the Victorian Sensation Novel
King of the Victorian Sensation Novel
"A strong impression remains with the [modern] readers that 'these things are not done.' In our well-policed days, the most malevolent of wicked uncles whom our father's will is keeping out of his rights is hardly the cloaked and sinister figure that he was. Our rival in love is not so likely to drop poison into our tea as to pity us for our unfortunate taste in collars. Our athletic young women, with their inches and their biceps, cannot be counted upon to swoon when the panel slides back, but would probably make things unpleasant for the slider."
|The athletic, bicycling young women of the 1890s
could not be expected to swoon at the sight of a sliding panel
|Gollancz was one of the prestige publishers of Golden Age English detective fiction
|Though it may have fallen out of critical fashion after 1900,
Victorian melodrama lived on in England--
in the 1930s, for example, in the films of Tod Slaughter--
and full scale critical revival lurked just around the (dark) corner!