Perhaps April Fool’s Day isn’t the best scheduling of this post, but the recent experience of dragging my way through Helen Vardon’s Confession (1922) by R. Austin Freeman got me thinking about the literary detectives I’d follow to hell and back, and I figured that it might be worth expanding upon.Continue reading
#1023: “The act of homicide always throws a man off balance.” – Bodies from the Library [ss] (2018) ed. Tony Medawar
The annual Bodies from the Library (2018-present) collections, in which Tony Medawar expertly selects long-forgotten and previously-unpublished stories and plays, have become essential purchases for anyone with even a passing interest in the great and the good of detective fiction’s Golden Age.Continue reading
#1000: A Locked Room Library – One Hundred Recommended Books
In the back of my mind when I started The Invisible Event was the idea that exactly half of what I’d post about would feature impossible crimes, locked room mysteries, and/or miracle problems — and although this proportion started an irreversible slide after the first 500 or so posts, the impossible crime remains my first love.Continue reading
#971: (Spooky) Little Fictions – Ghosts from the Library [ss] (2022) ed. Tony Medawar
With the annual Bodies from the Library collections, which have brought long out-of-print stories of crime and detection back to public awareness, proving rightly popular, editor Tony Medawar turns his attention to another facet of genre fiction with the Ghosts from the Library (2022) collection, in which authors (mostly) better known for their stories of crime and detection have a go at generating some supernatural chills instead.Continue reading
#951: Murder in the Basement (1932) by Anthony Berkeley
One of my very favourite detective fiction tropes is the Unidentified Corpse. It’s at the heart of my favourite E.C.R. Lorac book, one of my favourite Freeman Wills Crofts books, and as a mainstay of the work of R. Austin Freeman is put to wonderful use both traditional and inverted. Murder in the Basement (1932) by Anthony Berkeley also invents the Whowasdunin?, giving us a cast of characters from which the corpse will be produced, and not divulging the identity of the victim until the halfway point. Thankfully, given Berkeley’s tendency to commit to a thought experiment regardless of whether the book that comes out of it is any good, he’s also written an entertaining and very witty novel along the way.
#919: “Tonight, in this house, is there going to be another killing?” – Bodies from the Library 5 [ss] (2022) ed. Tony Medawar
Another year, another collection of forgotten or unknown tales from the luminaries of detective fiction’s Golden Age brought to us by the tireless efforts of Tony Medawar. So how does Bodies from the Library 5 (2022) stack up?Continue reading
#897: Jumping Jenny, a.k.a. Dead Mrs. Stratton (1933) by Anthony Berkeley
Soren Kierkegaard said that life is to be lived forwards but only understood backwards, and the same is true of my reading Anthony Berkeley Cox. I’m reasonably sure that I’ve read the majority of Cox’s novels, but only in revisiting them — with, admittedly, a firmer grounding in the detective genre’s Golden Age which he explored so rigorously in a staggeringly small number of books — do I appreciate what he was trying to do. Jumping Jenny, a.k.a. Dead Mrs. Stratton (1933), for example, is the inversion of every novel of detection written to that point and a vast majority of those written since, and only in seeing this did I finally understand just how damn good it is.
#855: The Wintringham Mystery, a.k.a. Cicely Disappears (1927) by Anthony Berkeley [a.p.a. by A. Monmouth Platts]
Even though — or perhaps, because — I’m a fan of Anthony Berkeley Cox’s work, I approach him with some trepidation. At his best you get the innovative brilliance of The Poisoned Chocolates Case (1929), while among his failures is the repetitious turgidity of The Second Shot (1930) or Not to be Taken (1938). Thankfully, The Wintringham Mystery (1927), originally serialised in the Daily Mirror in 1926 before being reworked as a novel, falls squarely in the former camp: a witty, playful, brisk Country House puzzler bafflingly out of print for nearly a century that’s so good it would justify a full reprint of the man’s work on its own.
In GAD We Trust – Episode 26: The Maxims of Misdirection
I’m as surprised as you to see a new episode of my In GAD We Trust podcast, especially as I said on Thursday that there was unlikely to be one this weekend — well, okay, perhaps a I’m little less surprised than you, since I (sort of) planned, recorded, and (sort of) edited this, but you get the idea. However, on Thursday everything (sort of) came together and I was able to record this almost in one take and so here we are.Continue reading
In GAD We Trust – Episode 25: Fair Play and the Nomenclature of Golden Age Detective Fiction [w’ Scott K. Ratner]
Gutsy of me to suggest, on my site dedicated to the discussion of Golden Age detective fiction, that a lot of the terminology used to talk about these stories is incorrect, eh? Well, thankfully I’m not the one trying to convince you; that job falls to Mr. Scott K. Ratner.Continue reading