About the Writings
Hi. I've been collecting and reading classic
detective fiction for more than forty years. Many of my comments on the
accompanying web pages come from my personal observations and thoughts
from reading the books. But other books that I have read -- "writings about the writings" -- have filled in gaps in my information and knowledge of the subject.
One book in particular has guided me in collecting and acquiring my own library -- Murder for Pleasure by Howard Haycraft. Haycraft's The Art of the Mystery Story
has also been a delight to read -- in it, Haycraft anthologizes a
number of essays by other writers and scholars of detective, mystery,
and crime fiction.
It's also been great fun to read a number various
reviewers who criticize one another in the debate. For example, Howard
Haycraft criticizes Dorothy Sayers on one or two occasions. (Notably,
when she wrote that the Sherlock Holmes novel A Study in Scarlet
was "flung like a bombshell on the reading public." Haycraft responded
that it may have been flung like a bombshell, but it didn't explode. A Study in Scarlet
was not the book that made Sherlock Holmes a household world, and it
went all but unnoticed until short stories about Holmes began to appear
in The Strand magazine.)
And in Bloody Murder,
his book about the history of the detective and crime story, Julian
Symons criticizes Haycraft when he opines that Haycraft's use of the
phrase "detective story" includes stories that seem to have the form but
are not really stories of detectives -- after all, how can we call the
stories about A.J. Raffles, who is a criminal, "detective" stories?
Symons prefers the term "crime" stories.
Symons also points out that, while Haycraft points to
the 1920s and 1930s as "the Golden Age" of detective fiction, there was
an earlier "Golden Age" -- the period after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
killed off his detective Sherlock Holmes in the famous death-struggle
with Professor Moriarty. This created a market for this form of fiction,
and there was a proliferation of stories by other writers to fill the
void. Many of these stories are well written and still highly readable
But these are not the only books that I have perused
(with very great pleasure) on the subject. Below, I list volumes that I
have, on occasion, immersed myself in. I apologize for not being able to
provide complete bibliographical information at this time -- these
books are currently in storage and I can't access them easily. When I
get more time (and can access them), I will provide more complete
information, including publisher, city, and year for each. In the
meantime, I hope it is of some value to share with you my sources -- at least the titles and authors (and an occasional note).
- The Annotated Sherlock Holmes. Volume I. William S. Baring-Gould.
- The Annotated Sherlock Holmes. Volume II. William S. Baring-Gould.
- The Annotated Sherlock Holmes (Includes Volume I and Volume II.)
- The World Bibliography of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Ronald Burt De Waal.
- Great Detectives. (Sherlock Holmes; Nero Wolfe; Philip Marlowe; Miss Marple; Hercule Poirot; Ellery Queen; Maigret.) Julian Symon.
- Sherlock Holmes on the Screen. Robert W. Pohle, Jr. and Douglas C. Hart.
- The Films of Sherlock Holmes. Chris Steinbrunner and Norman Michaels.
- Holmes of the Movies. David Stuart Davies.
- Unpopular Opinions. Dorothy L. Sayers.
- Sherlock Holmes: The Published Apocrypha. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Selected Hands. Edited by Jack Tracy.
- The Final Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Collected and Introduced by Peter Haining.
- Murder Ink. The Mystery Reader's Companion. Perpetrated by Dilys Winn.
- Murder Ink ("Revived, Revised, Still Unrepentant"). Perpetrated by Dilys Winn.
- Murderess Ink. ("The Better Half of the Mystery.") Perpetrated by Dilys Winn.
- The Murder Book. An Illustrated History of the Detective Story. Tage la Cour and Harald Mogensen.
- Murder for Pleasure. The Life and Times of the Detective Story. Howard Haycraft.
- The Art of the Mystery Story. Edited with a commentary by Howard Haycraft.
- The New Bedside, Bathtub, and Armchair Companion to Agatha Christie. Second Edition. Dick Riley and Pam McAllister.
- A Reader's Guide to the American Novel of Detection. Marvin Lachman.
- Whodunit? A Guide to Crime, Suspense and Spy Fiction. Edited by H.R.F. Keating.
- The Mystery Lover's Companion. Art Bourgeau.
- The Mystery Lover's Book of Quotations. The Wit and Wisdom of the World's Great Crime Writers. Jane Horning.
- The Detectives. Crime and Detection in Fact and Fiction. Frank Smyth and Myles Ludwig.
- The American Detective. An Illustrated History. Jeff Siegal.
- The Art of Mystery and Detective Stories. The Best Illustrations from Over a Century of Crime Fiction. Peter Haining.
- Agatha Christie: Murder in Four Acts.
A Centenary celebration of "The Queen of Crime" on stage, film, radio
and TV with a foreword by Sir John Gielgud. Peter Haining.
- The Pulps. Tony Goodstone.
- In the Footsteps of Agatha Christie.
Francois Riviere (text). Jean-Bernard Naudin (photography). Alexandra
Campbell (English translation). Lydia Fasoli (places to visit).
- The Agatha Christie Who's Who. Compiled by Randall Toye.
- An Informal History of the Pulp Magazines. Ron Goulart.
- Sleuths, Inc.: Studies of Problem Solvers. (Doyle, Simenon, Hammett, Ambler, Chandler.) Hugh Eames.
- Ellery Queen's Awards. Ninth Series. Prize-winning detective stories from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Edited by Ellery Queen.
- The Omnibus of Crime. Edited by Dorothy L. Sayers.
- The Second Omnibus of Crime . Edited by Dorothy L. Sayers.