Review: The Golden Age of MURDER!

*Originally published 2015/09/21

Do you promise that your detectives shall well and truly detect the crimes presented to them using those wits which it may please you to bestow upon them and not placing reliance on nor making use of Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence, or Act of God?

This time period has been called “The Golden Age of Murder”.  The era where the mystery genre really gets it’s identity and popularity.  It is in this time that a group of mystery writers formed a society called the Detection Club.  This club was meant for mystery writers to converse with others from the same genre.  The Honoury President was Arthur Conan Doyle with G.K. Chesterton as President and members such as Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie and Anthony Berkley.  This group of authors are often given the term of cozy mysteries as many people perceive them to be cute little mystery stories.  Yet, Martin Edwards, and I agree, puts forth that it was these authors that actually formed what a”mystery novel” is and also brought forth the popularity of mystery.

PrintTHE GOLDEN AGE OF MURDER Written by Martin Edwards

2015; 528 Pages (Harper Collins)

Genre: nonfiction, mystery, biography, literary


Rating: ★★★★1/2

Many detectives in books today have roots from this time.  Yes, the characters and the science have evolved along with twists and gore, but the core of the story is still the same.  No matter how you dress up a book a mystery fan will like it for the mystery component.  Edwards is a member of the Detection Club and has always wondered about the history of the writers themselves. He treats them like a mystery to be solved.  I don’t want to give too much away as I do want you to read this book and not have my “spoilers” swimming in your head. Christie, Berkley and Sayers were interesting characters on their own and each seemed to not just bring a style of writing but a background that intrigues you as much as their fiction.

detection-club

1932 Detection Club Dinner (Google)

 

I am a great fan of books from this time but also movies and old time radio programs.  This Golden Age of Murder is one of my favorite types of mystery.  Other than the books and individual biographies I have not seen a book that examines this important time with such passion.  It is a big book and I was able to read it quickly.  It is well-written but also very interesting – for book lovers, mystery fans but also those who appreciate history.  There was so much going on in the world at this time so it is very interesting to see how it affects each writer and their works. Many of the authors were influenced by true cases and you can see that in the writing as Edwards point out.  I have never actually read a mystery novel by Edwards but he is definitely going on the epic tbr list.

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