Melville Davisson Post’s crime and detective fiction followed basic conventions of the puzzle mystery. Like Edgar Allan Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Post’s series characters generally repudiate tough-guy violence in favor of detached, superior rationality to pierce the mystery and restore social order. Post wrote short fiction for a variety of popular magazines. Although often using the inflated language of melodrama, his stories nevertheless evoked horror and suspense and convincingly used surprise endings. Through the use of series characters, he sought to give novelistic continuity and organic form to published collections of stories, which first appeared separately in family magazines; most of his fiction underwent that transformation. A superlative entertainer, Post would have been quite comfortable writing scripts for presentation on radio, film, or television.