The Sorceress of the Strand and Other Stories
  • Publication Date: February 18, 2016
  • ISBN: 9781554811489 / 1554811481
  • 312 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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The Sorceress of the Strand and Other Stories

  • Publication Date: February 18, 2016
  • ISBN: 9781554811489 / 1554811481
  • 312 pages; 5½" x 8½"

In 1898, The Strand Magazine, one of the most influential publications of the Victorian fin de siècle, deemed best-selling author and editor L.T. Meade a literary “celebrity” and “one of the most industrious writers of modern fiction.” Beginning in 1893 and continuing into the first decade of the twentieth century, Meade’s medical mysteries and thrilling tales of dangerous criminal women appeared in  The Strand. There they competed successfully not only with Arthur Conan Doyle’s Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, but also with the works of the most popular writers of the day. The Sorceress of the Strand is one of Meade’s most compelling mysteries, and the first to feature the seductive criminal genius Madame Sara.

The Sorceress of the Strand is accompanied in this edition by three other popular stories featuring powerful female criminal protagonists, from gang leaders to spies and terrorists. The historical appendices expand on the stories’ themes of criminality, gender, and political activism. Twenty-eight of the original periodical illustrations are included.


“This welcome edition of The Sorceress of the Strand and Other Stories makes L.T. Meade’s popular magazine crime fiction newly accessible for students and scholars alike. Editor Janis Dawson supplements these fascinating late-Victorian stories with a wide range of contemporary materials and includes many of the original illustrations as well. The Sorceress of the Strand will appeal to all readers of detective and crime fiction, especially those interested in the early development of the genre and in the role of women writers and women characters within it.” — Elizabeth Miller, University of California, Davis

“Dawson’s insightful introduction, as well as her inclusion of the original illustrations and a recommended reading list, make Broadview’s edition an important new addition to studies of the late Victorian press. And as we read Meade’s incredible, gaudy tales, perhaps the sorceress will once again put us under her spell.” — Shannon Scott, Victorian Periodicals Review

“Dawson’s edition will be at home in many college classrooms. Its clear, accessible style, explanatory footnotes, and reproductions of the original illustrations make it an excellent textbook choice in courses or units on the fin-de-siècle, Victorian or Edwardian print culture, sensation fiction, the New Woman, and detective fiction. It will also be essential reading for scholars in those fields. Dawson makes a persuasive case for a renewed scholarly attention to Meade’s work, both as a barometer of late-Victorian literary trends and as a contributor of a new twist on an old type: the subversive female criminal, half scientist, half witch, as beautiful as a princess and as ancient as a vampire, her chilling competence haunting the dreams of even seasoned police officers and trade agency managers.” — Caroline Hovanec, English Literature in Transition 1880-1920

List of Illustrations
L.T. Meade: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

Stories from the Diary of a Doctor (second series)

  1. “The Seventh Step”

The Brotherhood of the Seven Kings

  1. “At the Edge of the Crater”

The Heart of a Mystery

  1. “A Little Smoke”

The Sorceress of the Strand

  1. “Madame Sara”
  2. “The Blood-Red Cross”
  3. “The Face of the Abbot”
  4. “The Talk of the Town”
  5. “The Bloodstone”
  6. “The Teeth of the Wolf”

Appendix A: Contemporary Interviews and Reviews

  1. From “Portraits of Celebrities at Different Times of their Lives,” Strand Magazine (December 1898)
  2. From L.T. Meade, “How I Began,” Girl’s Realm (November 1900)
  3. From Sarah A. Tooley, “Some Women Novelists,” Woman at Home (1897)
  4. From E.A. Bennett, “The Fiction of Popular Magazines,” Fame and Fiction (1901)

Appendix B: Degeneration and Crime

  1. From Gina Lombroso Ferrero, Criminal Man According to the Classification of Cesare Lombroso (1911)
  2. From Cesare Lombroso, “Atavism and Evolution,” Contemporary Review (July 1895)
  3. From J. Holt Schooling, “Nature’s Danger-Signals. A Study of the Faces of Murderers,”
    Harmsworth Magazine (1898-99)
  4. From H.G. Wells, The Time Machine (1895)
  5. From Bram Stoker, Dracula (1897)
  6. From Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent (1907)

Appendix C: Female Offenders

  1. From “The Probable Retrogression of Women,” Saturday Review (July 1871)
  2. From Eliza Lynn Linton, “The Wild Women as Social Insurgents,”
    Nineteenth Century (October 1891)
  3. From Cesare Lombroso and William Ferrero, The Female Offender (1895)
  4. “We Want the Vote” (1909)
  5. From Bram Stoker, The Lair of the White Worm (1911)

Appendix D: Anarchism and Terrorism

  1. From “Dynamite Outrages,” Times (26 January 1885)
  2. From “Explosion in Greenwich Park,” Times (16 February 1894)
  3. From “The Were-Wolf of Anarchy,” Punch (23 December 1893)

Appendix E: Crime Fiction

  1. From “Crime in Fiction,” Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (August 1890)
  2. From Arnold Smith, “The Ethics of Sensational Fiction,” Westminster Review (August 1904)

Works Cited and Recommended Reading

Janis Dawson has published articles on L.T. Meade, nineteenth-century women writers, Victorian girls’ books and magazines, eighteenth-century juvenile periodicals, and children’s literature.