The Golden Age of Murder: The Mystery of the Writers Who Invented the Modern Detective Story

Martin Edwards. Harper, $25.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-00-810596-9
Crime novelist Edwards (Frozen Shroud), the archivist for the legendary Detection Club of crime authors, reveals the hidden lives of its members in a comprehensive and well-written narrative that combines biography with literary criticism. He focuses on the Club’s three leading lights—Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and the lesser-known Anthony Berkeley—and how their output between the world wars helped define the detective novel as we know it. Along the way, he dispels numerous myths about Golden Age detective fiction: for example, that it was “an essentially British form of escapism... an effete counterpart to the tough and realistic crime fiction produced in the United States.” He documents his thesis that the Detection Club facilitated its members’ creativity through mutual support and “challenging [them] to take the genre to a higher level.” The trenchant analysis is coupled with revelations about the private lives of these very public authors, offering new information for casual fans and students of the genre alike, including details of Christie’s mysterious disappearance and Sayers’s secret child. Agent: James Willis, Watson Little. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/30/2015
Release date: 05/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 528 pages - 978-0-00-810598-3
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