A Mystery in Scarlet: Editorial Introduction

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94), celebrated author of Treasure Island  (1882-3), Kidnapped (1886), and "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1886), was a lifelong connoisseur of "penny dreadfuls," or illustrated serial fiction that targeted working-class readers. In his childhood, his nurse Alison Cunningham often read penny fiction to him. In adulthood, he was haunted by one penny title in particular: A Mystery in Scarlet, by “Malcolm J.


A Mystery in Scarlet

Robert Louis Stevenson cherished the 1866 penny dreadful A Mystery in Scarlet, written by his "genuine influence" Malcolm J. Errym, the pseudonym of "Sweeney Todd" creator James Malcolm Rymer (1814-84) and illustrated by the celebrated "Phiz" (Hablot K. Browne, 1815-82).


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