Written as a companion to the British Library's Crime Classics series of reprints, this descriptive critical catalogue of 100 crime and mystery novels (mostly British) published in the first half of the 20th century is irresistible for aficionados and a reliable reading list for newcomers. Edwards' picks, most published during detective fiction's golden age between the two world wars, range chronologically from Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) to Julian Symons's The 31st of February (1950) and include, in addition to many of the usual suspects, a few outliers sure to enliven debates among diehard fans. He groups his selections into 24 chapters that cover numerous aspects of the literature - the great detectives, the fair-play mystery (epitomized by Ronald Knox's The Body in the Silo), the miraculous or locked-room mystery (a specialty of John Dickson Carr), country house and manor murder mysteries, and so on - and whose ordering shows classic tropes giving way to newer approaches more resonant with modern times. A crime novelist in his own right, Edwards (The Golden Age of Murder) brings a specialist's discerning eye to discussions of each book's significance, and without giving away key plot points. This is an exemplary reference book sure to lead readers to gems of mystery and detective fiction. (Aug.) (Starred review)(Publishers Weekly)
The book is engagingly written, allowing for the reader to maybe not have much knowledge of the classic crime stories, especially the older ones, but it is quite inspiring and you can see Martin Edwards' passion shining through in the text. This is definitely a great addition to the collection and would make a great starting point for any of you who don't know the best place to start.(Matthew Barnes Carpe Libris)
An "unashamedly idiosyncratic" checklist from prolific novelist/editor/genre historian Edwards (The Dungeon House, 2015, etc.).As readers will expect from the editor of the British Library Crime Classics series, the lion's share of these 100 brief program notes, which read like a collection of prefaces, concern mystery novels published in England between the world wars. Even the most quarrelsome readers, their blood pressures duly raised, will take comfort in comprehensive indexes that list (though they give no page references for) titles and authors that didn't make the top 100.(Kirkus Reviews)
About the Author
MARTIN EDWARDS is an award-winning crime writer best known for two series of novels set in Liverpool and the Lake District. He is series consultant for British Library Crime Classics, the Vice Chair of the Crime Writers' Association, and President of the Detection Club. The Golden Age of Murder, his study of the Detection Club, was published in 2015 to international acclaim, and has been nominated for both the Edgar and Agatha awards for the year's best book about the genre.