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Glossary and Character Taxonomy  Breakdown by Country of Origin   Bibliography   Table of Contents    The Best of the Encyclopedia

Dickson, Harry. Harry Dickson was created by “Jean Ray,” the pseudonym of Raymond de Kremer (Edmund Bell, Jack Linton) and appeared in the French dime novel Harry Dickson, le Sherlock Holmes Americain #1-178 (1929-1938).

Harry Dickson is a Great Detective. Harry Dickson, le Sherlock Holmes Americain began as a French-language translation of a Dutch translation of the German Detectiv Sherlock Holmes und Seine Weltberühmten Abenteuer (1907-1911), which was an unauthorized pastiche of Sherlock Holmes stories, with Harry Taxon replacing Doctor Watson. Jean Ray grew tired of translating substandard stories and began writing his own, using Harry Dickson in place of Holmes. Dickson is similar to Holmes: Dickson is a gentleman detective, living in London on Baker Street. But Dickson is assisted by Tom Wills, a blond teenager, rather than by an older Watson figure, and Dickson’s cases and adventures are far more fantastic than Holmes’ or even Sexton Blake’s.

Dickson confronts and defeats villains as varied as Euryale Ellis, who can turn men to stone like her (possible) ancestor, the Medusa; Gurrhu, an Aztec god living in a temple underneath London; a silver-faced killer android; the bloodthirsty Hindu god Hanuman; and the lethal cult, the Moon Knights. Dickson is a young middle age, an expert on rare poisons, strange cults, and ancient civilizations, and is respected by both Scotland Yard and foreign governments.

Dickson appears in stories with titles like “The Evil Genius of the Angelo Circus,” “The Unknown God,” “The Vampire with the Red Eyes,” and “An Opium Den in Paris.”

* I'm including Harry Dickson, le Sherlock Holmes Americain in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because of the ideasplosions within it. Harry Dickson was the best of the French ideasplosion dime novels, thanks entirely to Jean Ray's sterling work. Ray gave Harry Dickson as varied and colorful a Rogues Gallery as Sexton Blake and Nick Carter (I), only more science fictional and more fantastic. Ray took advantage of Dickson as a Sherlock Holmes stand-in to write good mysteries and to combine mystery and fantastika into wonderful (and complete) stories. If Harry Dickson was not the equal of the best ideasplosion heftromane, the individual stories were better-written--Ray was a very talented author of the fantastic, weird, and horrible, and his effect on Harry Dickson was wholly positive. 

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