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.
Bleiler, E. F. Introduction to Best Max Carrados Detective Stories, by Ernest Bramah. New York: Dover, 1972. Surveys Bramah’s Max Carrados series and discusses the features that make its best entries stand out.
Kestner, Joseph A. The Edwardian Detective, 1901-1915. Brookfield, Vt.: Ashgate, 2000. Reads Bramah as emerging from and, to some extent, continuing the Edwardian tradition in detective fiction.
Penzler, Otto. “Collecting Mystery Fiction: Max Carrados.” The Armchair Detective 16 (1983): 122-124. The editor of The Armchair Detective discusses the Max Carrados series and its worthiness to be considered for addition to one’s personal collection.
White, William. “Ernest Bramah: A First Checklist.” Bulletin of Bibliography 20, no. 6 (1958): 127-131. A bibliography of Bramah’s earlier work.
White, William. “Ernest Bramah in Anthologies, 1914-1972.” The Armchair Detective 10 (1977): 30-32. A bibliography that lists Bramah’s shorter works that have appeared in anthologies.
White, William. “Ernest Bramah in Periodicals, 1890-1972.” Bulletin of Bibliography 32 (January/March, 1975): 33-34, 44. A listing of Bramah’s works that appeared in periodicals over his career.