Cassiday, an American author, has adapted and added material to Woeller's German original, thus forming an impressive social history. Woeller's erudite information demonstrates the public's fascination with crime, dating from Aeschylus's Oresteia. Other early Greek and Roman authors are vividly covered in the text that proceeds through the centuries with accounts of true cases of malefactors in various countries. There are numerous illustrations in black-and-white and color, some perhaps depicting too graphically inhumane punishments, mayhem and murder. Later authors, from Poe, Doyle, Collins, are discussed in chapters that lead to Cassiday's coverage of modern specialists in crime literature, with notes on stories as the source for stage, film and TV presentations. The absorbing book ends with brief biographies of authors (some not usually associated with crime literature) who contributed to the genre: Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and William Faulkner, as well as Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell, Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988 Release date: 05/01/1988 Genre: Fiction
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