TYLER DE SAIX The Man Without a Head

TYLER DE SAIX – The Man Without a Head. Moffat, Yard & Co., 1908. Illustrated. $1.50. Reprinted as The Cottage on the Fells (Werner Laurie, UK, 1908), as by H. De Vere Stacpoole, the author’s real name. Later reprint (shown), Laurie, 1950. Currently available in several Print on Demand editions.

   It is a question whether the mere ingenuity of horror comes within the bounds of art; but whatever one’s personal view, one cannot shirk the admission that such work has a reading public of its own, ready to encourage an increasing output.

   The Man Without a Head will doubtless find many admirers, as it is good of its class. The author has the gift, invaluable to the contriver of a detective story, of plausibly allowing the reader’s suspicion of the truth to precede that of the detective; not with gross obviousness, but with sufficient skill to make the resulting conviction of one’s own astuteness genuinely if briefly satisfactory.

   But the murderer’s device for concealing his crime, while indubitably clever, would insure almost immediate detection of any unfortunately trustful homicide who sought to put it in practice. The story of it moves with interest, however, even under the ballast of aphorisms sprinkled upon the pages with pedagogic heaviness of hand.

– Unsigned
– “Current Fiction”
– September 3, 1908
– [Scroll down to page 213, top right]

Editorial Comment:  Thanks to Mike Tooney for continuing to uncover old reviews such as this one, and posting them on Yahoo’s “Golden Age of Detection” group.