In Max Carrados, Ernest Bramah created the first blind fictional detective, ushering in a host of blind, paralyzed, overweight, and otherwise disabled sleuths. Unlike many of those who followed him, however, Carrados is not truly disabled by his physical limitations. Because he has developed his other senses so acutely, his lack of sight is no real hindrance to him, and he gently mocks his sighted colleagues who are so often misled by what they see. Carrados’s blindness opens up new avenues to the writer. Because Carrados cannot see, Bramah is forced to come up with different ways by which evidence is gathered and examined, giving a fresh angle to conventional material.
Nevertheless, Bramah’s detective is not defined solely in terms of his blindness. A very kind man, he has a remarkable wit, demonstrated most memorably in his exchanges with Louis Carlyle, and a rigorous sense of justice, which at one point compels him to urge a murderer to commit suicide. Modern readers of Bramah may not find much that is new in terms of plot, but they will find much to appreciate in the strong characterizations and humor of the stories.