Martin Edwards, author of many crime fiction novels himself, such as his Harry Devlin and Lake District series, has now written a book on Golden Age crime fiction between the two world wars, centring around the novelists involved in the Detection Club. I would recommend this well-researched book to all readers of Golden Age crime fiction, who want to know more about the authors of the time and the events (personal, social and criminal) which influenced them. In telling this story Edwards, breathes new life into the novels, characters and authors of this genre, blowing away the cobwebs of the traditional negative stereotypes which have clung to Golden Age detective novels for so long. Some of the key writers looked at in this book include Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, Dorothy L. Sayers, Anthony Berekely Cox and G. H. D. and Margaret Cole, but there are many others talked about as well. This book will definitely provide you with even more titles to include on your to be read pile. I found it interesting to read about Anthony Berekley Cox and the Coles in particular, as I knew little about them beyond their names and both sets of writers are brilliant examples of how Golden Age writers expressed their dissatisfactions in their works, be it on the English justice system or pains closer to home. Equally enjoyable was reading about some of the real life crimes which inspired the Golden Age novelists such as Edith Thompson and Frederick Bywaters case. An additional personal quality is also added by the way Edwards reveals how the members of the Detective Club interacted with each other socially and professionally, including their several collaborative works. This is not a book of dry dusty facts but a narrative written with evident enjoyment which brings the names on the detective novel dust jackets to life. For all fans of this genre it is a must have!
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