“Lost” and Rediscovered Detective Thrillers from the 1800s in Brilliant New Editions



Hi, I’m Mark Williams and with Dark Lantern Tales I am publishing books that I enjoy reading myself.

Mark Williams
A short Introduction to Dark Lantern Tales https://darklanterntales.wordpress.com/

Modern writers can imagine the past – there is nothing wrong with that.

But I like reaching deeper.

I like reading stories that were written many years ago, like 140 years ago, and written just for people to read 140 years ago.

When you can connect with that kind of historical fiction, you can experience nothing less than a form of time travel!

Enter the world of action-packed crime thrillers of the late 1800s. 

Bulletin for Sherlock fans!

A very rare 1884 serial story may change our understanding of how Sherlock Holmes was created.

OM magnifing glass

NOW 93% FUNDED! Please join our Kickstarter campaign:


Try one of these stories first to get a taste for truly Vintage Historical Fiction:

The Frisco Detective (1885):


New York City readers can find Dark Lantern Tales books at The Mysterious Bookshop:  https://www.mysteriousbookshop.com/

Rediscover "Lost" Detective Thrillers from the 1800s in Brilliant New Editions!

If you thought the late 1800s were all about ice cream parlors, straw hats, and bicycles built for two, brace yourself to be immersed in the dark and sordid world of Vintage Detective Fiction!

The Joe Phenix Detective Series, The Bat of the Battery (1883)

New York City readers can find Dark Lantern Tales books at The Mysterious Bookshop:  https://www.mysteriousbookshop.com/

The Bat of the Battery, The Joe Phenix Detective Series
PAPERBACK: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1798596504 KINDLE eBook (US): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G5L8MXL

The stories selected for Dark Lantern Tales books were written around 140 years ago for people to read around 140 years ago. Most were sold from newsstands on the street.

Rather than modern historical fiction that imagines life in that era, Dark Lantern Tales books are popular thrillers written for everyday working people of the 1880s to enjoy.

The language is different, the settings are a contrast between extreme wealth and gritty urban life, and the criminals are ruthless!

To help the reader enjoy a sort of time travel to the late 1800s, Dark Lantern Tales has added some historical information, a glossary of the slang terms found in these books, and lots of illustrations.

Newsstand near El Station NYC ca 1903

P.S. What is a “Dark Lantern?” The answer is here:



#historical fiction













dark lantern tales



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