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from the Library (2018-present) collections, in which Tony Medawar expertly selects long-forgotten and previously-unpublished stories and plays, have become essential purchases for anyone with even a passing interest in the great and the good of detective fiction’s Golden Age.Continue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
#972: Peril at Cranbury Hall (1930) by John Rhode
Accompanying an architect in an examination of the faded ancestral pile of Cranbury Hall, prim solicitor Arthur Gilroy happens upon his wastrel half brother Oliver, with whom he has an interview later that evening, who is rather elliptical about the reason for his presence. The two part on not unfriendly terms and, soon after, a shot rings out that is attributed to poachers taking liberties on the ownerless land. But when Oliver fails to show up for their meeting, Arthur begins to suspect that “some mysterious tragedy had occurred”…and he might be right, since that shot turns out to have been merely the first attempt on Oliver’s life.
#892: “He happens to be around when so many murders crop up…” – Bodies from the Library 2 [ss] (2019) ed. Tony Medawar
With the Bodies from the Library 5 (2022) collection due in a couple of months, and spin-off Ghosts from the Library (2022) coming later in the year, the time seems ripe to revisit one of the earlier collections which — given the timespan over which I first read them — I failed to review on publication. And since, for reasons too complicated to bore you with here, the second volume was the first one I encountered, it’s there I’ll head today.Continue reading
#814: Reflections on Detection – The Knox Decalogue 10: Twins
Imagine it: years from now, you’ll be able to say to your descendants “I was there, I remember well the day Jim finally completed his rule-by-rule examination of the Knox Decalogue“.Continue reading
In GAD We Trust – Episode 21: The Diversity of Approaches to Detective Fiction [w’ Martin Edwards]
The detective fiction genre is built around the essential structure of a crime, an investigation of that crime, and the revelation of the guilty party who committed the crime, and good heavens didn’t the Golden Age map out a lot of different ways to walk that path. And there are few people better placed to discuss this than President of the Detection Club and recent recipient of the CWA Diamond Dagger Martin Edwards, who celebrates three decades as a published author this year.Continue reading
#791: Death at Breakfast (1936) by John Rhode
Is it damning Cecil Street with disgustingly faint praise to say that he has become the author about whose work I am most likely to say “Yeah, that’s pretty much what I expected”? Whether writing as Miles Burton or as John Rhode, he generally gives you a moderately interesting puzzle that would have been better if a little more time were devoted to its structure and contents. My admittedly small sampling of his work doesn’t display the variety of Freeman Wills Crofts nor the creative construction and elucidation of R. Austin Freeman, and that’s…fine. But given the materials at his fingertips it’s also…a little disappointing.
In GAD We Trust – Episode 19: Reissue! Repackage! Repackage! [w’ Various People]
On the back of the Reprint of the Year Award run by Kate at CrossExaminingCrime, I thought it might be interesting to see what those of us who submit titles for that undertaking would choose to bring back from the exile of being OOP.Continue reading
In GAD We Trust – Episode 16: Modern Writers in the Golden Age Tradition [w’ Puzzle Doctor @ In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel]
Let’s get the new year off to a happy start by showing some appreciation for contemporary authors who make life difficult for themselves by upholding the traditions of Golden Age detective fiction in their own works. And, if you want to discuss modern detective fiction, few are better-placed than Puzzle Doctor, a.k.a. Steve from In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel.Continue reading
In GAD We Trust – Episode 8: Uncovering Long-Forgotten Short Stories + Bodies from the Library 3 (2020) ed. Tony Medawar [w’ Tony Medawar]