You Know My Method surveys the century following Edgar Allan Poe’s invention of the fictional detective in 1841. The same century saw the development of the idea of the scientist as a person who defined himself by his use of a disciplined method of inquiry. By 1940, the detective had established himself as the most popular figure in literature, and science had become the custodian of truth in the modern world. These two developments were not unrelated.
The four principal writers covered are Edgar Allan Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, R. Austin Freeman, and Arthur B. Reeve. Another dozen more writers are treated somewhat more briefly: Gaboriau, Pinkerton, Green, Morrison, Futrelle, and Leroux, among others.