(1886-1974) US literary figure and newspaperman, with a special interest in the fields of mystery and Supernatural Fiction; he is best-remembered for his writings about and pastiches of Sherlock Holmes. His supernatural fiction is relatively undistinguished, although he was one of the better contributors to the earliest issues of Weird Tales in 1923. His weird fiction is collected as Coffins for Two (coll 1924) and The Quick and the Dead (coll 1965), the latter published by Arkham House. His greater legacy is through his work as a bibliophile and epistolarian. His extensive correspondences with writers, dealers and collectors, now housed at Yale University Library, contain a wealth of valuable historical material, particularly in relation to Ambrose Bierce, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle and especially Arthur Machen, whose work he championed in the USA – writing the monograph Arthur Machen: A Novelist of Ecstacy and Sin (1917 Reedy's Mirror; 1918 chap). Machen initially appreciated VS's interest and dedicated The Secret Glory (1922) to him. VS also published two collections of Machen's early work – The Shining Pyramid (coll 1923) and The Glorious Mystery (coll 1924) – with Machen's permission, but Machen forgot and accused VS of piracy. All was resolved, but not without acrimony. The correspondence about the affair was collected as Starrett vs Machen: A Record of Discovery and Correspondence (coll 1977 US) ed Michael Murphy. Further light is shed on VS's work in Containing a Number of Things (coll 1993 UK) ed R B Russell. More of VS's literary research is found in Buried Caesars: Essays in Literary Appreciation (coll 1923). [MA]
Other work: Seaports in the Moon: A Fantasia on Romantic Themes (1928).
Charles Vincent Emerson Starrett