Harry Stephen Keeler Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Harry Stephen Keeler wrote more than seventy novels throughout his career and met with success in several countries, including Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, and the United States. His principal contribution to the mystery and detective genre is his bizarre “webwork novel,” in which outlandish, melodramatic plots, subplots, and sub-subplots are piled atop one another. These intricate “webbings” grow into a dizzying pyramid of coincidences and interlocking connections—a plot that threatens to topple but that Keeler skillfully resolves. Keeler’s mastery of plot has elicited awe and admiration from his loyal admirers. He is also known for his uncanny ability to mix humor and horror to stunning effect.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Fadiman, Clifton. Introduction to Fantasia Mathematica: Being a Set of Stories, Together with a Group of Oddments and Diversions, All Drawn from the Universe of Mathematics. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1958. Discusses Keeler’s short story, “John Jones’s Dollar.”

Nevins, Francis M., Jr. “The Wild and Woolly World of Harry Stephen Keeler.” Journal of Popular Culture 3-5, 7 (Spring, 1970-Summer, 1973): 635-643, 410-418, 521-529, 159-171. Multipart study of Keeler’s extremely complex plots and the worlds that they generate.

Polt, Richard, and Fender Tuckers, eds. Wild About Harry. Shreveport, La.: Ramble House, 2003. More than twenty-five reviews of Keeler’s books from Keeler News, the newsletter of the Harry Stephen Keeler society.

Rzepka, Charles J. Detective Fiction. Malden, Mass.: Polity, 2005. This overview of detective fiction written in English focuses on the relationship between literary representations of private detectives and the cultures that produce those representations. Sheds light on Keeler’s work.

Tucker, Fender, ed. A to Izzard: A Harry Stephen Keeler Companion. Shreveport, La.: Ramble House, 2002. Contains many reviews and essays on Keeler, some of his writings, a complete bibliography of his works, and sample jacket covers.