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Summary

Lord Dunsany mixes reality with fantasy in this forgotten collection of modern detective stories. Some are macabre, others have a lighter and more amusing touch, but every story stimulates the imagination and reveals the acknowledged master of the short story at his very best.

Smethers is a travelling salesman for Numnumo, who make a relish for meats and savouries. He shares a flat with an Oxford graduate called Linley, who fancies himself as a detective and to whom Scotland Yard is inclined to turn if they encounter a particularly challenging mystery.

When a pretty young girl disappears and her lodger is suspected of murdering her, two bottles of Numnumo relish are the only clues, and Smethers is sent to gather more information....

Amongst the hundreds of fantasy stories for which the Irish dramatist, poet and writer Lord Dunsany became deservedly famous, there was one solitary little collection of detective stories. Selected by Ellery Queen as an 'unequivocal keystone' in the history of crime writing, this quirky collection is a mixture of the masterful and the macabre, an audiobook that lovers of detective stories and tales of the unexpected will want to savour.

©1952 The Trustees of the Dunsany Wills Trust (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"The book is a treasure-trove - no less than 26 tales of crime and detection, all illumined by Lord Dunsany's charm and wit, and his individualistic style. The first nine stories record the exploits of Mr Linley, including that undeniable modern classic, 'The Two Bottles of Relish'." (Ellery Queen)
"There are my 'Poe' pieces and my 'Dunsany' pieces - but alas - where are my 'Lovecraft' pieces?" (H. P. Lovecraft)
"'The Two Bottles of Relish' is so horrific - and what a brilliant, brilliant idea. The perfect crime." (Otto Penzler)

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