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Created by writer Melville Davisson Post (1869–1930), Uncle Abner is a backwoods detective from the area of Harrison County. He uses his uncanny observation coupled with a simple logic to solve mysteries that always pit the good, hardworking countryman against the unscrupulous, cowardly wrongdoer. The tales are set outdoors, the reader riding with Uncle Abner through antebellum Western Virginia, in a time of land and livestock, timber and trading, and determined men and women. Abner and the reader seek clues together and rush to a climax unexcelled by other mystery writers. The popular Uncle Abner stories appeared in the national magazines of the time, a majority of them in the Saturday Evening Post.

The style is dated, but Uncle Abner is still known to readers of mysteries. Most recently, John F. Suter reproduced Uncle Abner for Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and also published five Abner stories in Old Land, Dark Land, Strange Land (University of Charleston, 1996), a collection of Suter’s own short stories. Eighteen of Post’s stories were published in the book, Uncle Abner: Master of Mysteries (Appleton, 1918). Another collection, The Methods of Uncle Abner, was published in 1974, and in 1977 the University of California Press issued The Complete Uncle Abner.

This Article was written by Charles F. Moore

Last Revised on April 30, 2020

Cite This Article

Moore, Charles F. "Uncle Abner." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 30 April 2020. Web. 21 April 2024.


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