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The Oxford Book of English Detective Stories Hardcover – August 30, 1990


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Beginning with the Conan Doyle era, this collection moves chronologically past Christie and Sayers to P. D. James and the present moment. Most of the 33 stories follow the Sherlock Holmes formula: a plethora of clues and a solution by ratiocination. No hard-boiled detectives or seedy characters can be found because, as Craig ( The Lady Investigates ) informs us in her introduction, such types never took root in the English detective story--British readers evidently prefer the urbanity of the drawing-room settings roamed by upper-class sleuths. The puzzles posed by locked rooms are thus solved in "The Oracle of the Dog" by G. K. Chesterton. Unexplained deaths are explained--delightfully--in Freeman Wills Crofts's "The Mystery of the Sleeping-Car Express." A few perpetrators get away with their crimes, as in Robert Barnard's "The Oxford Way of Death" and in Cyril Hare's "Miss Burnside's Dilemma," but most are brought to justice. The detective story, as Craig observes, is an optimistic genre; there is always, by tradition, a solution, and therein lies our pleasure. This anthology is chock-full of deductive reasoning, whimsy and that remarkable gift of the British: understatement.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Thirty-three short stories by such popular English detective writers as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers, P. D. James, and Simon Brett. YAs will be attracted by the content of the stories, length of individual selections, and the writing styles. Each selection is absorbing and provides the element of tension needed to sustain interest. The book could be read for pleasure, and it will complement classes in comparative literature, English, and creative writing.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 554 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (August 30, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192141872
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192141873
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.4 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,123,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Tucker on July 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A broad spectrum of detective and crime stories are offered in this tidy volume. There's something for every taste, I think.
I particularly liked it because it offers sample stories from writers I've always meant to read but whose novels I can't easily find or haven't gotten around to yet. Too, I like the time frame, beginning with early detective stories, on through the Golden Age, and past pulp's hard boiled on to noir.
Fine reading.
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Format: Hardcover
I really enjoy all these short stories in one book. So many authors I'd never read and/or never known about. It's a delight!
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. Bulger on September 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'd just like to take this opportunity to say how much it cheeses me off when a book with the title of this one contains stories that ARE NOT detective stories. After over one hundred years as a genre, is it really so difficult to find enough stories to fill a single volume? In any such anthology, I don't expect to enjoy every story, but I don't think I'm being unreasonable in expecting that the least the editor could to would be to actually include detective stories in a collection of detective stories. Of the 30+ stories in the book, I've read about eight, and I've already found two that are simple, detective-free crime stories. No doubt editor Patricia Craig though that she was being clever by extending the genre and not being restrained by petty literalism. Which would be fine if she was collecting the stories to share with her friends. Unfortunately, she inflicted her choices on us.

There are some perfectly good stories in the book, no doubt. The decision to include detectiveless/mysteryless stories is not the fault of the writers, all of whom are quite competent. If a restaurant included pork in a vegetarian dish, I think the diner would feel the same way I do.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By doeadear on March 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sent me a used copy, w/o a cover. What more is there to say?
It was a gift...I was giving to a friend...disappointed.
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