Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Dance of Death

The Dance of Death; or, the Hangman's Plot, a Tale of London and Paris, By Detective Brownlow and Monsieur Tuevoleur, Sergeant of the French Police, NewsAgents’ Publishing Company, 147 Fleet Street, London c. 1864.

This penny dreadful ran to 182 pages approximately 23 weeks of 8 page penny parts and reads like each part was written by a parliament of drunken hacks fighting a deadline. The tale ends abruptly right after a boy tells a tale of his unnatural father committing an act of incest on his daughter. The author seems to be setting up for the next number when the story, possibly due to a lack of sales, is brought to a screeching halt. It’s also interesting to note some of the prizes offered to boy readers: Six Splendid Guns by the Best Makers, Sixteen Costly Stilletos such as are used by the Brigands in Italy, and Twenty Volumes, handsomely bound, entitled “Lives of Notorious French Criminals.”

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