Other Stories

Our Favourite Mystery Blogs

October 30, 2019


Pretty Sinister The Passing Tramp Do you Write under Your own Name? In Search of the Classic Mystery Blog Crossing Examining Crime Beneath the Stains of Time Mystery*File Ah Sweet Mystery Blog

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Knock Knock Knock…. Golden Age Crime novels have ghosts aplenty

October 30, 2019


If you are looking for Halloween reading that includes hauntings, disturbing unexplained events and the occasional atmospheric séance, detective novels from the 1920s and 30s will not disappoint.   After the apocalyptic tolls of the Great War and the Spanish Flu pandemic, interest in spiritualism soared as a cultural response to mass bereavement; families and communities … Continued

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Golden Noms de Plume

June 6, 2019


Classic crime writers made habitual use of pseudonyms. A comprehensive list of pen names would be an impossible task, but a quick tally from Barzun & Taylor’s A Catalogue of Crime (1971) revealed over ninety writers who wrote under a different name. Some had multiple noms de plume and some authors wrote together under one … Continued

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Ruritania

May 1, 2019


Many Golden Age books have a plot (or subplot) involving an imaginary European kingdom, often on the brink of revolution. The inspiration for this subgenre was ‘Ruritania’, the setting for the 1894 best-selling novel, The Prisoner of Zenda.  Author Anthony Hope Hawkins’ ersatz Germanic kingdom is a short train journey from Dresden, diminutive in size, backwards … Continued

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Scene of the Crime

May 1, 2019


Classic crime novelists often used vague fictitious settings for their action, perhaps to avoid any notions of libel. For that reason, it is always a delight when the location is real and specific (or easily discerned from the pseudonym), inviting a comparison of ‘then and now’. Here are a few favourites: Somerville College, Oxford Gaudy … Continued

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Murder among Strangers: The Boarding House

May 1, 2019


In the 1930s, a single individual of modest means who moved to a city might well have chosen a boarding house as his or her domicile.  Boarding houses were the up-market descendants of the common lodging house, originally a place of low fees, limited space and no-questions-asked about a tenant’s reputation.  Often a last resort … Continued

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