The Joe Phenix Detective Series

Joe Phenix' Master Search

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!

Mark Williams

“The Joe Phenix Detective Series begins with two novels that are quite Victorian, almost Gothic. Good reading, but a weightier style. As the series progresses, Albert W. Aiken established a more modern style that set the groundwork for the classic detective fiction of a few decades later. To try one out and see how you like it, select a later book, such as Joe Phenix’ Master Search, to read first. Then you will be tuned in to the language and ready to enjoy them all.”

Written by Albert W. Aiken between 1878 and 1894, these mysteries were some of the first detective stories to appear in a series.

Favorite Joe Phenix stories are now available as ebooks and Trade Paperback books, and other volumes will be made available soon.

These exciting novels were nearly lost in time, and Dark Lantern Tales is offering special editions with added historical context, lots of illustrations, a glossary of slang terms from the books, and newly edited text for the modern reader.

Try one and be transported to the late 1800s with authentic Historical Fiction!

New York City readers can find Dark Lantern Tales books at The Mysterious Bookshop:

Joe Phenix, the Police Spy

From 1878, read the origin story of Detective Joe Phenix. Within these pages, a state prison inmate seemingly dies but may have been resurrected, an unrivaled criminal gang lurks in elaborate lairs beneath the streets of New York, and an old case is finally resolved. The Joe Phenix Detective Series begins here. Written 140 years ago to be read 140 years ago, this is Historical Fiction before it was Historical!

Barely a dozen years after the American Civil War and nine years before Sherlock Holmes first appeared in print, this origin story of The Joe Phenix Detective Series was published as a serial in the New York Saturday Journal. Joe Phenix, The Police Spy was a very early detective story about a two-fisted man-hunter tracking down the worst miscreants in New York City, and the beginning of the seminal Joe Phenix Detective Series. This Dark Lantern Tales edition of Joe Phenix, The Police Spy includes a Victorian-era tale of murder, false imprisonment, a vast crime empire, and final retribution. Plus, historical information, a glossary of vintage slang terms from the story, and period illustrations!

Trade Paperback (5″ by 8″) Only $14.99:

Kindle eBook Only $3.99:

Joe Phenix, Private Detective

There was a suspicious death, a marriage proven to be a sham, a grave disturbed at midnight, and all before Detective Joe Phenix has even entered the case! Soon, in an underground New York City meeting place, an extensive criminal enterprise is revealed and infiltrated. Yet, the plot has only begun to unfold.

At the peak of summer, on July 24 of 1880, this second Joe Phenix adventure began as a serial in the New York Saturday Journal. In Joe Phenix, Private Detective, the famous man-hunter has become independent of the police force of New York City and works from his own detective agency. Written in 1880 to be read in 1880, this is Historical Detective Fiction created before it was Historical!

Trade Paperback (5″ by 8″) Only $14.99:

Kindle eBook Only $3.99:

The Wolves of New York

1881, New York City, and the word on the street pointed to the Wolves as the most evil of the criminal gangs. Their captured leader was sent to Sing Sing State Prison up the Hudson river, but made an astonishing escape. Finally, the frustrated police superintendent calls in private detective Joe Phenix to hunt the man down.

Led by an androgynous mastermind called Captain Molly, whose mastery of disguise matched even the skills of Joe Phenix, the Wolves were a cold-blooded gang of criminals. Captain Molly was born of the Romani people, “Gypsies,” a situation that in turns helps him and also helps his pursuer, the famous detective. The mysterious Queen of the Gypsies guides with predictions, and Joe Phenix lives among the Romani to learn their ways while chasing Captain Molly through the most wealthy and the most foul parts of New York City.

Trade Paperback (5″ by 8″) Only $14.99:

Kindle eBook Only $3.99:

The Bat of the Battery

It is 1883, and a patrolman making his midnight rounds in New York City’s Battery Park finds a dead man in the middle of a quiet carriage-way.

Looking up from his grim discovery, he sees a bat-like spectre the size of a man, perched on a nearby structure.

So begins a pursuit that soon involves Joe Phenix, the Private Detective. The demented murderer changes his appearance and demeanor almost at will, daunting the detective and the police by continuing his brazen killings.

Joe Phenix, The Bat of the Battery pits the detective against his most vile foe, who imagines himself a murderous Vampire!

Buy Now or download a Free Sample from your favorite eBook seller!

Trade Paperback (5″ by 8″) Only $14.99:

Kindle eBook Only $3.99:

Kate Scott, the Decoy Detective

Detective Joe Phenix encountered the woman who will be his new assistant when the first serial installment of Kate Scott, The Decoy Detective, hit the streets on February 9, 1884 in Beadle’s Weekly.

And, Kate Scott turns out to be quite a sturdy character. Self-possessed and bold, Kate outwits and escapes from a mastermind of crime, shoots an attacker, and works as a disguised “spy” (undercover agent) for Joe Phenix.

As the title page promises, this is a tale that takes the reader from the highest to the lowest reaches of New York society.

Now, join Kate Scott for a stroll on the recently opened “New York and Brooklyn Bridge” for a breath of fresh air in novel surroundings. Her evening is not destined to remain peaceful!

Trade Paperback (5″ by 8″) Only $14.99:

Kindle eBook Only $3.99:

The Man of Three

Or, Playing for Five Millions.

A marquis with dubious credentials, innocent (and attractive) young ladies in danger, Wall Street financial plots, the seamy underworld of New York City contrasted with luxurious country estates, and the stalwart investigative style of Detective Joe Phenix, all make fine ingredients for The Man of Three.

Trade Paperback (5″ by 8″) Only $14.99:

Kindle eBook $ Only $3.99:

Joe Phenix’s Shadow

On a dark evening in 1890, a murderer strikes in the middle of New York City’s Washington Square Park.

Seemingly no one has seen the attack. Both the police investigators and private detective Joe Phenix are at a loss as to how they can proceed. Then, Joe Phenix begins to get tips from a veiled woman who seems to have been mesmerized.

The veteran detective doubts the powers of clairvoyance, mesmerism, and second sight, but his doubts are challenged as more mysterious revelations appear.

Trade Paperback (5″ by 8″) Only $14.99:

Kindle eBook Only $3.99:

Joe Phenix’s Silent Six

Within the palatial home of the leading Wall Street “Money King,” a concealed extortionist seeks a fortune from the magnate.

The police detectives can’t discover any suspects, so the obvious choice is to secretly employ the best sleuth in New York City.

At his office, Joe Phenix receives an obtuse note with a very strange request.

Trade Paperback (5″ by 8″) Only $14.99:

Kindle eBook Only $3.99:

Joe Phenix’s Combine

A celebrity suicide turns out to be murder, the will can’t be found, and the heirs are subjected to multiple extortion plots.

Joe Phenix is retained and begins a long and dangerous hunt with his assistants and disguises.

Trade Paperback (5″ by 8″) Only $14.99:

Kindle eBook Only $3.99:

Joe Phenix’s Master Search

Carrying a peculiar container strapped to his belt, a man travels to New York City from the wild mining territory of Arizona.

Just before he can deliver the strange piece to the recipient, he is struck down by two thugs.

Joe Phenix is unexpectedly embroiled in the case and has to chase the mysterious casket and it’s contents to an explosive conclusion!

Trade Paperback (5″ by 8″) Only $14.99:

Kindle eBook Only $3.99:

See the entire Joe Phenix Detective Series online:

The Joe Phenix Detective Series in Paperback and Kindle eBooks:


Dark Lantern Tales

Rediscover Crime and Detective Stories from the 1800s

#historical fiction, #victorians, #mysterybooks, #19thcentury, #1800s, #1890s,

#vampire, #vampires

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