Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Measure of Malice: Scientific Mysteries” as Want to Read:
The Measure of Malice: Scientific Mysteries
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Measure of Malice: Scientific Mysteries

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  168 ratings  ·  56 reviews
The detective's role is simple: to catch the culprit. Yet behind each casual observation lies a learned mind, trained on finding the key to the mystery. Crimes, whatever their form, are often best solved through deliberations of logic - preferably amid complicated gadgetry and a pile of hefty scientific volumes.

The detectives in this collection are masters of scientific de
Paperback, British Library Crime Classics, 320 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by British Library Publishing
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Measure of Malice, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Measure of Malice

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  168 ratings  ·  56 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Measure of Malice: Scientific Mysteries
Roman Clodia
Oct 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This is one of the better of these BL Crime Classics anthologies as all the stories have some genuine detecting of puzzles in them. All the same, it's clear why many of these authors have faded over time as they do what they do without any distinguishing marks. A fun and easy read, ideal for commuting. ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Editor Martin Edwards has done it again: His latest anthology — this time focusing on Golden Age short stories featuring what was at the time the latest in forensic innovation — contains quite a few gems.

While it’s hard to pick a favorite, I have to settle on “The New Cement” by Freeman Wills Crofts — even though I have to eat crow to admit it. I had read a short story of Croft’s before in a previous Edwards anthology, and then tried Mystery in the Channel, which I found lackluster. I will have
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This is an anthology of stories with an element of science used to detect the crimes. As with all collections, some are better than others, predictably, my favourite here was 'In the Teeth of the Evidence' by D. L. Sayers and I plan to read her novels soon. I can see why some of these authors have disappeared into obscurity, but it's nice to be given the chance to sample them and see whether to try and track down more of their works.

*Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy in exch
A very enjoyable selection of short stories from the Golden Age of English crime writers all featuring some type of scientific tool to solve or conduct the crime. A mixture of the well known and less known writers.
I found it interesting that a lot of the authors had pen names, the characters all stopped for lunch or dinner, everyone had servants, women were very much the weaker sex and being murdered by dry ice was a shattering experience.
Dr Morelle was a highlight for me with his cringe worthy
What a pleasure to tread back into these stories of traditional British Crime Classics, like Sherlock Holmes and my favorite was by Dorothy L. Sayers. These are your more traditional "who done it" sort of stories, some were more entertaining and better written or more engaging than others. As with most collections, each story speaks to different people so the collection as a whole may suffer a bit because the stories are varying strengths in writing or tone.
Overall, I would recommend this as an
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rarely (if ever) review the individual stories in a collection of short stories but given the fact that my varying reactions to the several I encountered in this book, I had to split it up to give a more accurate picture of the book itself. It is a collection of stories where the detectives use 'scientific methods' to come to their conclusions. In some cases, the thought process is not as apparent as in some others.

The Boscombe Valley Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle [1891]

I have read this one be
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
When I first saw this book, I knew that I would probably love it, just because it showcased my favorite aspect of early detective stories, the scientific detective. After all, wasn’t that the premise behind the early great detectives such as Holmes and Thorndyke? They were the experts who could test, measure, and analyze the truth out of the smallest baffling clue left by every criminal. This collection showcased those talents perfectly. I would recommend it to anyone who likes vintage mysterie ...more
Puzzle Doctor
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Best BL collection to date.
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, 2019, short-stories
The clue’s in the clue...

Another collection of vintage crime from the winning partnership of Martin Edwards and the British Library, this one contains fourteen stories sharing the theme of scientific detectives or clues. There’s a lot of imagination on display as the authors seek to find unique problems to put before their detectives – everything from Sherlock Holmes and his expert knowledge of cigar ash, to laryngoscopes, anaphylactic shock, new-fangled “contact glasses” and a different twist o
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The British Library Crime Classics anthologies are always something to look forward to. The latest collection of 14 short stories gives us detectives and criminals who, using a variety of scientific disciplines, solve…or try to get away with…murder.

The authors as always vary. Well known authors include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy Sayers. But some of these authors most readers will never have heard of, such as C. J. Cutcliffe Hyne and C. E. Bechhofer Roberts.

I could have done without H.
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent collection of short stories in the detective genre in the style of Sherlock Holmes.

The opening one is actually a Sherlock Holmes wonderful story and sets the tone and elegance of writing which is so characteristic for all the writers.

Apart from the style of writing which is calm and collected and not frenzied in the least despite the goriness of the actual murders, there is a great deal of intelligent detective skills utilized throughout and a measure of scientific deduction which a
I always enjoy the British Library of Crime Classics short story collections, but this one--though the individual stories are entertaining--perhaps not so much. The stated theme is "Scientific Detection Stories," and some of the stories have little of the scientific in them save perhaps a fairly conventional discussion of ballistics, or a location (in a chemical laboratory in "The Case of the Chemist in the Cupboard"). Still, there's no need to let a line on the cover of the book ruin one's plea ...more
Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Tonstant Weader
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Measure of Malice is a fun anthology of classic mystery short stories from the Golden Age of Mystery. Martin Edwards has produced several editions for Poisoned Pen Press harvesting stories from authors who have been lost to the passage of time. This anthology focuses on stories with an element of science.

While Edwards includes a few of the most well-known authors like Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy Sayers. His primary focus, though, is on those who have been lost to time such as Robert Eusta
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you like mysteries and crime stories and have not read any of the British Library Crime Classics you are missing out. Someone brilliant thought of reissuing gems from the past which had fallen into obscurity, and getting Martin Edwards to edit them. I have a read a ton of these, both the novels and the collections of short stories, and have thoroughly enjoyed them.

“The Measure of Malice” is one of the short story anthologies. There is always a theme to the collection, and in this case it is s
Diane Hernandez
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
A sharpened pickax, a full water butt (barrel), a marline-spike, an obscure poison are all used (or maybe not used) for murder with A Measure of Malice in this new collection of British golden and silver-aged mysteries.

Fourteen more intriguing, but unfortunately forgotten, tales from famous (Arthur Conan Doyle) and not authors. The theme of these tales is unusual weapons and unique ways to prove the detectives’ suppositions All lean heavily on the new science of the day.

It’s amazing how casual w
Liz V.
Apr 15, 2020 rated it liked it
A collection of short stories from the Golden Age of Mystery, mostly by now forgotten authors. Each story is prefaced by a thumbnail sketch of the author, a surprising number of whom were doctors. Several have been characterized as "humdrum" and, for the most part, deservedly, although short stories don't afford an author much scope. Still, I found it interesting to read some of the less well known authors from that period. ...more
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it
A not bad selection of crime stories with a scientific twist. Not particularly special but not awful either. My favourite was "The Broken Toad" by HC Bailey. ...more
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The solving of murder in fiction has always had its challenges, and this book demonstrates one way of meeting it, with scientific method. This book of fourteen short stories edited by Martin Edwards is from the wonderful British Library Crime Classics series, and is a representative sample of various authors writing during a “Golden Age” of detective writing. Featuring well known authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy L. Sayers as well as stories by Ernest Dudley and J.J. Connington, all ...more
2020 anthology edited by Martin Edwards. Short stories marked by the growth of forensic sciences between 1891 and 1955. These British short stories, while of a generally high quality, were products of their era and as such some are less readable than others based on vocabulary and current viability of the science in the story.

The detectives in this collection are masters of scientific deduction employing principles of chemistry, the latest technological innovations and an irresistible logical br
Debra Davidson-Smith
This is an interesting group of short stories linked by the use of science with the work of detection. Beyond some Agatha Christie, this isn't my usual area of interest so all the stories were new to me and I found most of them held my interest although I felt the standard of writing was a little patchy - some were really good and others less so. I think that might be because as early C20th pieces some of them have aged better than others. The lovely sense of period adds an extra element of inte ...more
joyce w. laudon
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Poisoned Pen Press has published a number of excellent mystery anthologies, of which this is one.  This collection includes stories about cases that were investigated and solved using science and technology, as it existed when each story was written. 

A knowledgeable introduction is followed by stories from writers who are both well and lesser known.  Some of the authors represented are Conan Doyle, Dorothy L Sayers and Freeman Wills Crofts.  There are fourteen stories in all.

If you find that
William Prystauk
May 02, 2020 rated it did not like it
Very disappointing.

The stories made anything on "Murder She Wrote" look amazing, adult, and well-planned. Each story felt as if it was written for a G-rated audience a step removed from Nancy Drew.

The storytelling was often weighed down with flowery prose and, once again, crucial information was kept from the reader as if the writers weren't smart enough to give us hints we weren't smart enough to catch.

Of all the stories, only one stood out for being well written with tighter prose, and that is
Larry Fontenot
Jul 25, 2020 rated it liked it
This collection edited by distinguish writer Martin Edwards pulls together stories from the Golden Age of detective stories but with a lean towards scientific detective work. I had not expected to like these stories, having grown accustomed to modern diction, attitudes and detective strategies from Michael Connelly, Louise Penny, James Lee Burke. etc. But I found these stories interesting if a bit dated. I enjoyed the use of science and scientific instruments in the committing, detecting and res ...more
Jeff Hobbs
Read so far:

*The Boscombe Valley Mystery / Arthur Conan Doyle --
The Horror of Studley Grange / L. T. Meade and Robert Eustace --
The Tragedy of a Third Smoker / C. J. Cutcliffe Hyne --3
*The Man Who Disappeared / L. T. Meade and Clifford Halifax --
The Cyprian Bees / Anthony Wynne --3
The English Filter / C. E. Bechhofer Roberts --
The Contents of a Mare's Nest / R. Austin Freeman --3
*After Death the Doctor / J. J. Connington --
The Broken Toad / H. C. Bailey --3
*In the Teeth of the Evidence / Dorothy
Laura Hannaway
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Some excellent stories in this anthology. I think that there was only one that I didn’t enjoy ‘The Case of the Chemist in the Cupboard’ by Ernest Dudley and it wasn’t that the mystery wasn’t enjoyable, but more that I disliked the protagonist. There are some really good stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L Sayers, Edmund Crispin and a host of others. Well worth the money and the time. Highly recommended.
Helen Campbell
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
At the turn of the century (19th to 20th) the forensic science used by today's detectives would have seemed like science fiction. This book contains 14 short stories written during that time that demonstrate early principles - some valid, some perhaps not - that the authors utilized to solve their fictional crimes. This volume, part of the British Library Crime Classics is a gem - a wonderful visit to the early days of my favorite genre. ...more
Jun 11, 2020 rated it liked it
An eclectic collection of short stories that make some reference to scientific detection. Best read as period pieces that offer glimpses of life (mainly) between the two world wars. Even some of the more obscure authors are still quite readable but others, notably Ernest Dudley, are better forgotten.
Erin Britton
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Measure of Malice, the latest anthology in the British Library’s Crime Classics series, gathers together fourteen short stories in which the detectives clearly rely on science to bring the guilty parties to justice. As Martin Edwards comments in his informative introduction to the collection, all of them make “use of scientific and technical know-how (often fresh and exciting at the time the stories were written, even if now seemingly quaint or obvious) in weaving their puzzles.” Edwards goe ...more
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
As with any collection of short stories, there are hits and there are misses. Overall I enjoyed the book. My fav was Dorothy Sayers but that is no surprise, I love everything Lord Peter Wimsey.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Fell Murder (Robert MacDonald #24)
  • The Body in the Dumb River: A Yorkshire Mystery (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #35)
  • Murder in the Mill-Race (Robert MacDonald #37)
  • It Walks by Night (Henri Bencolin, #1)
  • Castle Skull (Henri Bencolin, #2)
  • Checkmate to Murder (Robert MacDonald #25)
  • Crossed Skis: An Alpine Mystery (Julian Rivers #8)
  • Death in White Pyjamas / Death Knows No Calendar
  • Death in Fancy Dress
  • Surfeit of Suspects
  • Bodies from the Library 2: Forgotten Stories of Mystery and Suspense by the Queens of Crime and other Masters of Golden Age Detection
  • Bats in the Belfry (Robert MacDonald #13)
  • The Christmas Egg (Inspector Brett Nightingale, #3)
  • Murder by Matchlight (Robert MacDonald, #26)
  • The Belting Inheritance
  • Fire in the Thatch: A Devon Mystery (Robert MacDonald #27)
  • Death Has Deep Roots: A Second World War Mystery
  • Murder in Vienna
See similar books…
Martin Edwards’ latest novel, Gallows Court, was published in September. He is consultant to the British Library’s Crime Classics series, and has written sixteen contemporary whodunits, including The Coffin Trail, which was shortlisted for the Theakston’s Prize for best crime novel of the year. His genre study The Golden Age of Murder won the Edgar, Agatha, H.R.F. Keating and Macavity awards, whil ...more

Related Articles

Thirty-four years after the publication of her dystopian classic, The Handmaid's Tale, Atwood returns to continue the story of Offred. We talked...
368 likes · 59 comments