Thomas Bailey Aldrich, popular poet and essayist and editor for nine years of The Atlantic Monthly (1881-1890), contributed three prose volumes of major interest to readers of detective and mystery fiction: Out of His Head: A Romance (1862), Marjorie Daw and Other People (1873), and The Stillwater Tragedy (1880). An astute literary critic and a diligent student of Edgar Allan Poe ;and Thomas Bailey Aldrich[Aldrich]}, Aldrich was attracted to a detective fiction cloaked most often in moods of the fantastic or the supernatural. A prolific poet in the Romantic style, Aldrich inclined in his fiction to the melodramatic and fanciful, and although he sometimes endeavored to portray local-color backgrounds and to sketch realistic social conditions, his Brahmin aloofness and reserved, patrician attitudes often rendered such efforts artificial and unconvincing. Comparable to the creative strategies of Poe, Aldrich’s forays into areas of mystery were generally more successful than his occasional excursions into realism, although in The Stillwater Tragedy he employed the conventions of the detective novel to mix the gothic with the realistic. Tone and atmosphere were Aldrich’s prime concerns, and his stories and novels with themes of detection and mystery, though few in number, hold a significant place in the evolution of the genre.