Cover image for The problem of the evil editor
The problem of the evil editor
Rogow, Roberta, 1942-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 2000.
Physical Description:
298 pages ; 22 cm
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In the winter of 1888, Reverend Charles Dodgson of Christ Church at Oxford - better known to the world as author Lewis Carroll - brings to his new found friend Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle to London to introduce him to editors potentially interested in Doyle's writing. Their first stop is the offices of a weekly magazine, Youth's Companion, arriving in time to find the place in an uproar - the staff is upset, the printers in a rage, and the editor is busy violently rejecting the work of up-and-coming Irish writer Oscar Wilde. Dr. Doyle fares no better with the foul-tempered, duplicitous and mean editor - Samuel Bassett and the duo depart.

Shortly thereafter, in full sight of the duo, Bassett is murdered outside of magazine's offices. Due to the heavy snowstorm, neither Dodgson nor Doyle can identify his attacker but they are on hand to hear Bassett's final gasp. With the Labor Riots raging in the streets, and unrest in the air, the police immediately assume that Wilde, a socialist, is responsible and set about trying to find him. But, believing that Wilde is innocent, Dodgson and Doyle, set about to find out the truth behind the vicious attack. In a quest that takes them from the most prestigious literary and art circles in Victorian London to the lowest dives of ill repute, the unlikely duo seek to unmask a killer before he strikes again.

Author Notes

Roberta Rogow has been writing since she could hold a pen. After trying her hand as a folksinger and actress, she became a librarian and works at the Union Public Library in Union, New Jersey. Rogow is the author of The Problem of the Missing Miss and The Problem of the Spiteful Spiritualist , the two previous novels featuring the Dodgson and Doyle team. She lives with her husband Murray in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never met in real life, but Rogow matches them as companions and sleuths, their relationship supposedly forming the basis for Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Dodgson and Doyle may not have the charisma of those two, but they manage perfectly well in this entertaining series. This time the Labour Riots of 1888 are swirling around Fleet Street as Dodgson and Doyle visit the offices of Youth Companion magazine, where the nasty editor, Samuel Bassett, is insulting everyone on his staff. Naturally, Bassett turns up dead, as does one of the magazine's writers. Readers may not need Dodgson and Doyle to solve the crime, and the author's detailed exploration of the homosexual motives behind the murder sometimes get in the way of the action. What Rogow excels at, though, is setting the scene. The class warfare, as rioters spill across wintry London, is both a vivid backdrop and a rich subplot to the main action. An engaging read, especially for Anglophiles. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Once again Arthur Conan Doyle plays Watson to Charles Dodgson/Lewis Carroll's Holmes, in a third literate mystery (after The Problem of the Spiteful Spiritualist) featuring this unlikely if appealing duo. One afternoon in February 1886, Dodgson and Doyle visit the Fleet Street office of Samuel Bassett, a mean-spirited children's magazine editor who not only rejects Oscar Wilde's fairy tales and Beatrix Potter's rabbit drawings but appears to have profited from selling copies of the rare first printing of Alice in Wonderland that Carroll insisted go to charity because Tenniel's illustrations weren't properly reproduced. No wonder, then, that someone sticks a knife in Bassett's back when he leaves the office that evening. Meanwhile, mobs of workers are roaming central London in the snow, protesting their unfair wages. Dodgson and Doyle find themselves caught in a riot, and even temporarily detained by the police until Wilde comes to their rescue. The pair have to work fast to find Bassett's killerÄwho under cover of the riot has committed a second murder to prevent exposure. The fun here is less in the ponderous plot, with its shortage of suspense and suspects, than in the author's affectionate and accurate portrayal of the prim, stammering Carroll and the young Dr. Doyle, eager to make his literary mark. While the playful tone may be a bit at odds with the murderer's sad and sordid motives, Rogow's sly in-jokes and seamless blend of fact and fiction should delight many. Agent, Cherry Weiner. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved