I have been giving some thought to what Christmas presents to give to friends who are fans of Golden Age Detective Fiction. A big problem is trying to find something they haven’t already got on their bookshelves. With this in mind, here are the solutions I have come up with:
A century before Scandi noir, writers across Europe and beyond were publishing detective stories of high quality. Often these did not appear in English and they have been known only by a small number of experts. These fascinating stories give an insight into the cosmopolitan cultures (and crime writing traditions) of diverse places including Mexico, France, Russia, Germany and the Netherlands.
Called by Agatha Christie “one of the best detective stories ever written” and newly republished in hardback under Harper Collins Crime Club imprint (at a bargain price of £9.99).
The first of the lost Margery Allingham thrillers written as serials under the pseudonym Maxwell March has now been republished by ipso Books. J K Rowling says “My favourite of the four Queens of Crime is Allingham.”
Ye Olde Book of Locked Room Conumdrums
If you like your rooms locked and your crimes impossible then this collection of some of the finest (and least frequently reprinted) stories is for you. Its stories span the period from 440BC to 1918 and, best of all, it is abailable to download absolutely free. What is stopping you?
Agatha Christie’s Complete Secret Notebooks
A fascinating insight into the working methods of the most successful author of the Golden Age by arguably the leading authority on her works. It contains many revelations, not least the discarded endings from a number of her books, deleted scenes and even which famous Poirot novel started life as a Miss Marple adventure.
Now out in paperback and updated this tells the history of the Detection Club and its members – the great writers of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. It won the Edgar, Agatha, Macavity, H R F Keating and Oscar awards in the year of its first publication (ok, I lied about the Oscar).
Analyses Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple stories to reveal key differences in their solutions (without ever giving away whodunnit), examines trends in locked room mysteries and considers Golden Age Detective Fiction as popular culture giving insights into society and culture between the wars.