20 November 2010

Another Book about Writing

For a nice, relatively spoiler-free, overview of detective mysteries of the first half of the 20th century, pick up PD James' Talking About Detective Fiction.

She starts with the creation of the general form, then talks about gothic novels and how Wilkie Collins created many of the genre standards. She devotes a whole chapter to the Sherlock Holmes stories, of which i've read everything, and GK Chesterton's Father Brown mysteries, of which i've read nothing. She discusses the many major female writers in the genre and how their detectives are products of the times the authors lived in. James talks about the racisms, sexism, and classism that run through the Golden Age, hard-boiled, and other detective novels. How all the various conventions are used, and subverted, makes for great reading.

If you like mysteries, you will end up with a longer TBR list for sure! I found her commentary very informative and will end up reading several of her suggested titles. A solid 6 from me.

now i'm off to work on The Woman in White.

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