The Weird Tales of Seabury Quinn

The cover of The Horror on the Links, by Seabury Quinn, is obviously what compelled me to check out this book. The howling man-beast (what kind of beast though?) carrying on in front a gloomy mansion is just the best thing I’ve seen in a while, and when I read the description inside, “Seabury Quinn’s  . . .  most famous character, the supernatural French detective Dr. Jules de Grandin, investigated cases involving monsters, devil worshippers, serial killers, and spirits from beyond the grave, often set in the small town of Harrisonville, New Jersey,”  I knew it was for me. A  cheesy, pulpy mash-up of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, Quinn’s stories mix lurid sexiness (twenties- and thirties- style) with creepy occult creatures and innocent maidens in peril. He began writing for Weird Tales, a publication that started in 1924 as an outlet for stories that featured aliens, ghosts, and other-worldly subjects that didn’t fit the typical pulp mold, and was one of its most popular authors, although his stories didn’t endure like his fellow Weird Tales authors, H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard.  The stories are not great literature, and the de Grandin character talks like a combination of Poirot and Dracula’s Van Helsing and is given to florid exclamations in French,  but they’re very fun and diverting to read. Horror on the Links is the first of a proposed five-volume of his Weird stories. The guy was prolific, for sure. An interesting side note: Quinn was a lawyer whose professional writing consisted of An Encyclopedic Law Glossary For Funeral Directors and Embalmers and A Syllabus of Mortuary Jurisprudence,  written “for use by students of the Renouard Training School for Embalmers, New York City, and the Williams Institute of Embalming, Kansas City, Kansas.”

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