“Lot No. 249” (1892)

Creators

Arthur Conan Doyle (writer).

Extent

Read in 2017.

Commentary

Some of Doyle’s finest prose. The Oxford college ambiance is excellent, and the author did well to choose an omniscient third-person narrator with quasi-philosophical opening and closing remarks of a kind halfway between an H. P. Lovecraft story and an episode of The Twilight Zone (1959). The plot is notable for having a supernatural premise that actually supports its protagonist’s choice to take matters into his own hands as a vigilante, destroying all evidence. Even then, he is appropriately cautious, telling one friend everything, writing it all down ahead of time, and reaching out to another friend for backup.

References here: “Supernatural Horror in Literature” (1927).

fiction text