Prince Zaleski is a sewn hardback book of 187+xxviii pages printed lithographically, with silk ribbon marker, head and tailbands, and
Limited to 400 copies.
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Arguably the most decadent of all fictional sleuths, Prince Zaleski relies upon the methods of ratiocination so beloved of Sherlock Holmes. But unlike his deer-stalkered colleague, Zaleski rarely needs even to leave his divan to solve the perplexing mysteries that Shiel brings before him. Rather than give crude chase to the perpetrators of these sophisticated crimes, Zaleski reclines elegantly in his semi-ruined abbey, ‘a bizarrerie of half-weird sheen and gloom,’ smoking hashish and fashioning solutions from his encyclopedic knowledge of the esoteric. Although he is in this respect akin to Edgar Allan Poe’s detective, Auguste Dupin, Zaleski is primarily an up-to-the-minute 1890s aesthete, prompting one critic to suggest that he is based on that tragically extravagant poet of death, Count Eric Stenbock.
Prince Zaleski contains the three tales originally collected in John Lane’s Keynotes edition, (1893) along with three further stories, one unfinished, which represent later ‘collaborations’ with the poet, writer and literary researcher John Gawsworth.
Brian Stableford provides an illuminating Introduction to the twilight world of Prince Zaleski, and R.B. Russell’s Note explains the genesis of the three stories written with John Gawsworth.
'Prince Zaleski, an impressive, attractive offering to the macabre enthusiast's library, presents ample evidence of the title character's decadent mysticism and Shiel's prowess as a stylist, building torrents of acrobatic logic and emotional overflow with solidly layered, carefully sequenced building-blocks of description and pacing. A memorable collection by an author who deserves more exposure.' Hellnotes
'Prince Zaleski is published by Tartarus Press so you know you are getting an extremely high-quality product. All their books are durable and elegant, even attractive in an academic sort of way. . . . It is an exceptional book in every way, and one that will be particularly prized by collectors. Highly recommended.' Wayne Edwards, Cemetery Dance
'A memorable collection by an author who deserves more exposure.' William Simmons, Infinity Plus
'An indispensable acquisition for all who relish the elegant and eccentric in detection.' Sherlock
'Triumphantly over the top and, by turns, atmospheric, pulpish, cranky, maddening and absurd, the Zaleski stories continue to intrige, and this is unquestionably the definitive edition.' Douglas Campbell, All Hallows
'Tartarus Press reissues Shiel's stories featuring this most darkly decadent of detectives, with an introduction by Brian Stableford and featuring the additional stories completed by John Gawsworth. Hopefully we can jumpstart a Shiel renaissance.' Gabriel Messa, 'A Year's Best List', Fantastic Metropolis