Another proofreading project has been completed: Wizard Will, the Wonder Worker, the first in a series of dime novels about a heroic boy detective. The story was written by Prentiss Ingraham, a colorful character who lived an adventurous youth and then spent his later years churning out literally hundreds of novels, many dealing with Buffalo Bill.
Wizard Will certainly reads like the product of an author who wrote countless tales and never looked back — the words flow without much regard for style or coherence, and it seems at times more like a first draft than a polished novel. In spite of rough edges on the prose, though, this is clearly the product of a natural and enthusiastic storyteller, and it is filled with action, plot twists and melodrama worthy of Mrs. Miller. Being a product of its time, it also contains a few examples of the casual racism that pervades many dime novels.
Some uncomfortable moments aside, this book was designed to leave the reader wanting more, and at the end of the story you will probably be interested in finding out what happens next to Wizard Will, his family, and his enemies, the dreaded Land Sharks. Fortunately, the next book in the series is available at Bowling Green State University’s Digital Resource Commons, and the team at Falvey will be keeping an eye out for further volumes.
You can find the first story at Project Gutenberg, where it can be read online or downloaded in a variety of popular formats.
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