The Writings
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 today.

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).