Qualifications are the writers had to publish their first true detective novel between and the true Golden Age and be British or close enough Carr.
So writers like, say, R. Austin Freeman, Michael Gilbert and S. Van Dine get excluded. This is a personal list. And lists evolve over time. In any list list I would make of great mysteries, they would be there.
Also, of the 61 writers, I believe 40 are men and 21 women — I hope my count is right! Of these, 31, or just over half, eventually became members of the Detection Club. How To Write Good Mystery Novelsbut I like best the tales he produced in postwar years.
This tale, his finest, is not. It one of the most original of the period. His best work, however, is found in crime novels and straight novels. This is the first, a classic spa tale. I notice the Coles were deleted from the list, and the comment I made for their books is listed with Margery Allingham.
Just thought I should note that in case there is any confusion! By the way, it was postings this site that encouraged me to go back and look at David Hume and find some more puzzle-oriented work by him. I think he emphasized it earlier on then gravitated much more to pure action.
Mostly I know him from the Mick Carby series. Rhode and as Burton is certainly underrated, and I think it is because he hung on so long and in the end was not at the top of his game. Nice to see the Ethel Lina White on the list. A good book by a writer unfairly identified as a sort of British Rinehart. This one is quite good with an attractive detective hero. He was an important regional writer in the mainstream as well.
But in general this is a fine reading list for anyone wanting a sort of general survey of continue reading of the better books of the Golden Age. I used somewhat aritrarily on both of my lists for several reasons.
In any case I would not argue with How To Write Good Mystery Novels as the purest form of the Age. I know the C. All three of these were reprinted in those excellent Dover editions.
These are better known for that reason of course and because they are by higher-browed authors. Anthony Berkeley is overrated when it comes to detection, I think. The Poisoned Chocolates Case strikes me as a stunt story, designed to prove that the search for truth in the puzzle story is essentially meaningless because any sets of facts can be manipulated endlessly by the author to lead to different solutions.
Not to be Taken, on the other hand, is a fine formal detective novel. Also like Trial and Error. Berkeley loved the idea of bumping off a objectionable person and approached it here with great gusto. Much harder-nosed than Rinehart, I think. I think Phillpotts is underrated as a mystery writer—Symons did a hatchet job on him in Bloody Murder! When he died in at age 98Christie a mere child of 70 penned an affectionate obituary of him in the Times I believe.
David, I agree the time line is arbitrary by nature. I use because of the appearance of Crofts and Christie and the opening of the floodgates. Symons says Crofts wrote The Cask inbut more reliable sources saysame year as Christie. No doubt the war held things up thrillers with evil Germans were popular. I think one could also make a case for ending the Golden Age inor even I use because I think the war undermined the traditional detective novel.
Put more emphasis on espionage thrillers and realism. But a lot of Golden age authors still were producing very good stuff throughout the s. In the s they are really losing ground, however. I think the decisive point with going with however was I wanted article source excuse to include Christianna Brand! Click here Death in High Heels does have a prewar setting.
Andrew Garve published a pre-war thriller and Michael Gilbert and Julian Symons wrote their first published mysteries before WW2 though they were published afterwardso one could arguably include them.
Also Crispin if one extended to ! Yeah, Mitchell tends to be love or hate. I like her earlier books, which actually do have detection in them and are I think quite funny. The two later ones are enjoyable mysteries that are also novels about her childhood. They do a good deal of classical genre fiction. Innes just barely starts pre war and most of his early How To Write Good Mystery Novels are war related adventures.
Nevil Shute began before the war too in the Buchan vein with several thrillers. The spy novel as such is fairly rare in American fiction until after the war. Moto were about as serious as the American version of the spy novel got in the between the wars period. Almost everything is in the Buchan vein save for Eric Ambler and Graham Greene, and even they are influenced by Buchan.
Valentine Williams, Francis Beeding, L. Hay, George Goodchild, OperatorRupert Grayson, and almost anyone else you can think of are operating in the Buchan vein.
The British publishers as well as the American publishers seemed to fear the impact of war content in mysteries. Most of the fictional sleuths did a stint in intelligence though one or two were RAF pilots and Bulldog Drummond between missions was confined to the Home Guard.
The same for most of the American detectives, who mostly avoid the war entirely or else fight it off screen so to speak like Donald Lam and Doug Selby.
Even Rex Stout, who was deeply involved in the war effort, mostly sidesteps the issue with Archie assigned to Wolfe just click for source military intelligence.
Vivian Butler points out the gentleman adventurers are even worse. The Saint takes on a few cases here in the States for intelligence, but most of them do their soldiering offstage like the Toff. The Baron is a sgt. Palfrey are all busy in war work, but then they were into that before the war. But for the most part even those involved in war work seemed to avoid the war How To Write Good Mystery Novels popular fiction. But I think the fear was less isolationism in general than the recognition that the war was real and people were really dying, and somehow trivializing that in books that would likely be read by soldiers in combat and people at home who had loved ones in the war was somehow wrong.
Escapism was the order of the day, and for the most part the model followed on both sides of the Atlantic. We forget now that much of the savagery of the Spillane school comes with the men returning from the war suddenly writing about their actual experience and no longer satisfied with the more bloodless or at least realistic popular fiction of the pre war era.
It was all right to do something heroic and uplifting like MRS. There may be more people around in uniform, and an occaisional blackout gets mentioned, in British books once in a while the Blitz or an air raid features in a plot, but for the most part there seems a plot to ignore the war is going on. In the early war years you really could escape any hint of the war in just click for source fiction — if you were careful they might not even mention ration books or the draft.
It is hard to imagine such a conspiracy of silence today. This list consists of worthy British works of detection, both novels and short story collections, […]. You must only have read his later books when he definitely switched gears. The Inspector Higgins novels he wrote How To Write Good Mystery Novels the s and s are about as traditional as they come. I think Anthony Wynne was ingenious in his plots and spins on the locked room or impossible crime genre.
I have always wondered why his books were printed over here in large numbers but are so incredibly British with much of pre and post ww2 era England so inherently part of the stories.
I think of him as a melodramatic somber writer who often was dreary in the middle parts of his drawn out stories.
The White Arrow is a perfect example of this operatic plot-line.
Has anyone written a U. I would love to contribute my own. I am fascinated with the American writers whose work filled the pulp magazines.
Two lesser known writers who did a good job concocting unusual plots and laid the clues fairly well were Charles J Dutton and Isabel Ostrander. I could easily come up with titles of mostly obscure, forgotten and neglected writers form the U.
Believe it or not, Charles J. Dutton has been reviewed here, though it was several years ago.
How to Write a Mystery Novel Outline by Stephen J. Cannell
More lists of obscure but favorite writers? Thanks for the comments. I have read thirties Gregg in fact this is all I have read. Most of his books seem to arise more out of the British thriller transition than detection.
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I have some Dutton books but have not read. I actually use him a bit in my manuscript Steve: Oh, yes, I agree about Wynne and a sense of humor.