I mentioned Hugh Greene recently. He is nowadays little remembered, in comparison to his brother Graham, yet in his time (1910-1987) he became a major public figure, notably as Director General of the BBC. He picked up a knighthood, published a few books and managed to fit in four marriages. A busy chap.
When I was ten or eleven, I was given as a Christmas present The Spy’s Bedside Book, a nice anthology which Hugh edited together with Graham. Enjoyable stuff, but even better was a subsequent present, The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes. This was a collection of stories about detective characters whose exploits were overshadowed by the more famous Sherlock. Examples included Romney Pringle and the villainous Dorrington.
The book was a deserved success, and spawned a television series. This has recently come out on DVD and the only reason I haven’t yet treated myself to a copy is because I can’t imagine when I’d get to watch it. But I’m sure I will succumb to temptation in due course.
Hugh Greene produced three more compilations of short stories from the era of Conan Doyle. One book featured rural crimes, another was devoted to early examples of Eurocrime, and a third to American mysteries. There were some good finds in each volume, and if you like early detective stories, you will find much to feast on in the Hugh Greene anthologies.