After the very enjoyable work done by Herb Lester and Caroline Crampton in mapping the key locations of Agatha Christie’s English mysteries, it was surely only a matter of time before a similar project was attempted. And This Deadly Isle, which maps the locations of a raft of Golden Age mysteries across the country, is the delightful inevitable follow-up.Continue reading
To me falls the honour of rounding off the blog tour for The Life of Crime (2022) by Martin Edwards, adding to the deserved praise it has already garnered elsewhere. This “personal journey through the genre’s past, with all the limitations and idiosyncrasies that implies” is a monumental achievement, encompassing the breadth and depth of a genre that is now a good couple of centuries old, and finding many nuggets to share about it along the way. And, since any study of a genre must inherently be about that genre to some extent, Edwards’ trump card here is to tell a story of crime writing that also sheds light on the need for such stories to exist in the first place.
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
Earlier this year, when I spoke with Steve about modern authors writing in the Golden Age tradition, he reminded me that I’d not read any of Martin Edwards’ series of Liverpool-set novels featuring solicitor Harry Devlin. Back when modern crime fiction commanded more of my attention, Robert Crais had led me to Michael Connelly, who led me to Ian Rankin, who led me to John Harvey, who then led me to Edwards’ Lake District novels The Coffin Trail (2004) and The Arsenic Labyrinth (2007), but his earlier series eluded me. So, at long last, here we are at All the Lonely People (1991) — the debut for author and character both, which turns 30 this year.
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
Okay, now we get down to it, the one rule of Ronald Knox’s Ten Commandments for Detective Fiction that people actually know. Or think they do.Continue reading