#323: Reflections on Detection – ‘Why Do People Read Detective Stories?’ (1944) and ‘Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?’ (1945) by Edmund Wilson [feat. Gladys Mitchell]

In October 1944 and January 1945, the American newspaper columnist, writer, and critic Edmund Wilson published two essays entitled, respectively, ‘Why Do People Read Detective Stories?’ and ‘Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?’.  The second was in response to the exhortations from readers who, appalled by the first, sent him recommendations to improve his outlook…recommendations which, by all accounts, failed miserably.

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#318: The Sinister Six – Murder Begins at Home in ‘Behind the Screen’ (1930)

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Slightly belatedly, here are my thoughts on the companion piece to ‘The Scoop’ (1931), another portmanteau mystery written for radio by some of the luminaries of the Golden Age.  This time around, Hugh Walpole sets the problem of a dead body found in your typical Stage 3 suburban household, and Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Anthony Berkeley, E.C. Bentley, and Ronald Knox contribute to its unpicking.

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#286: A Conscious Regiment of Women? – The Queens of Crime™, Representation, and the Golden Age

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It is tremendously difficult to write about gender these days without appearing to be trying to sneak through some (usually unpleasant) agenda.  If anything in the following causes any reader jump to such a conclusion about my intentions, I urge that hypothetical reader to take a glance through any selection of posts on this site — all written by the author of what you’re reading now — to assure themselves that this in no way features in my plans.  I am simply, out of curiosity, asking a question that happens to involve gender.

And the question is this: Has Golden Age Detective fiction been subjected to a deliberate feminisation?  And, if so, to what end?

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#278: Six Were Present – A Collaboration of Titans in ‘The Scoop’ (1931)

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Most fans of Golden Age detective fiction (GAD) will be aware of the portmanteau novel The Floating Admiral (1931) in which many luminaries of the form each contributed a chapter in turn to a murder mystery plot (pity poor Anthony Berkeley, who had to unravel all the clues and events to provide a coherent solution in the final chapter).  I’m imagining that slightly — but only slightly — fewer of you will be aware of the precursors to this novel written in the preceding year, where the same sort of approach was taken for two mysteries to be broadcast on radio.

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#259: ‘The Yellow Book’ (2017) by Paul Halter [trans. John Pugmire 2017] and Categorising No Footprints Murders…

Of late, I have found myself surrounded by invisible men.  Entirely fictional, of course, but there have been a lot of them: shooting someone in an empty room in You’ll Die Laughing (1945) by Bruce Elliott, disappearing into darkness in I’ll Grind Their Bones (1936) by Theodore Roscoe, vanishing from rooms and beaches in Thursday’s forthcoming Wilders Walk Away by Herbert Brean, performing miracle appearances and disappearances as I reread Rim of the Pit (1944) by Hake Talbot…everywhere I look, people are vanishing.

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#229: Carr vs. Christie…the Follow-Up

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Last week we discussed the merits of what all y’all voted the two finest books by John Dickson Carr and Agatha Christie in full spoiler style.  This week, Brad — who magnanimously locked horns with me — is hosting a follow-up where we air yet more of our favourite napery regarding these two and…well, go to his site and check it out…

Come back here next week for another follow-up where we’ll be…nah, I’m kidding.  We’re not going to flog this horse any more.

Are we, Brad?

#226: Spoiler Warning 2 – Death on the Nile (1937) by Agatha Christie vs. He Who Whispers (1946) by John Dickson Carr

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In the second of my semi-occasional series where caution is thrown to the wind when it comes to naming names, we are here today to discuss the two finest detective novelists of all time at their popular peak.  Christie aficionado, good friend, and best teacher ever Brad of AhSweetMysteryBlog kindly agreed to go head-to-head over our favourite authors and then exchange some thoughts on aspects of the precise details and workings of the books, and the results of our efforts are below.  Suffice to say, if you click to read more of this, there are guaranteed massive spoilers from this point on; don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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