Prichard, Hesketh

Tagged: Author

Working name of Hesketh Vernon Hesketh-Prichard (1876-1922), UK author, sportsman, explorer and naturalist, in active service during World War One; throughout his career, he collaborated with his mother Kate Prichard (1851-1935), the two writing as "E & H Heron" and as "K and Hesketh Prichard". They created three very popular series characters: the bandit Don Q, who featured in many adventures beginning with The Chronicles of Don Q (1904) – Douglas Fairbanks starred in the film Don "Q", Son of Zorro (1925) directed by Donald Crisp – November Joe in November Joe: The Detective of the Woods (1913), and Flaxman Low, the first professional full-time Occult Detective [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below].

Flaxman Low preceded Algernon Blackwood's John Silence and William Hope Hodgson's Carnacki by a decade; clearly influenced by Sherlock Holmes, he was described as an Oxford-trained psychologist and unlike Carnacki used no special electric apparatus, though he had occasional recourse to a knife or a gun. His twelve exploits first appeared under the overall title Real Ghost Stories in Pearson's Magazine (January-June 1898; January-June 1899) as by E & H Heron; they were assembled with an auctorial introduction as Ghosts: Being the Experiences of Flaxman Low (coll 1899 [for vts and cut editions see Checklist below]) as by K and Hesketh Prichard. Supernatural Creatures encountered include various unpleasant ghosts, an earth elemental and an ambulant mummy which is also a Vampire. Though truncated, Flaxman Low's rivalry with the evil adept Dr Kalmarkane psychologically resembles Holmes's profound conflict with Professor Moriarty. As with Carnacki, some cases have non-occult solutions such as death by obscure oriental Poison or fungal spore infection; that of greatest sf interest is "The Story of the Grey House" (May 1898 Pearson's Magazine), in which a sequence of seemingly supernatural hangings is traced to the activities of an exotic creeping vine which can both poison and strangle. But in most cases, complex sets of circumstances tend to be absorbed in occult explanations that may now seem less intriguing than the problems thus "solved". [DRL/RD]

Hesketh Vernon Hesketh-Prichard

born Jhansi, Gwalior, India: 17 November 1876

died Gorhambury, Hertfordshire: 14 June 1922

works (selected)

series

Flaxman Low

All later volumes are vts or cut vts of the 1899 collection as by K (later) Kate and Hesketh Prichard. To simplify the listing we omit the "writing together as" formula where other bylines, including both "E & H Heron" and "E H Heron", are used.

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