In my last blog I followed the mystery novel from its inception up to the late 1800s. Sherlock Holmes and his powers of deduction had arrived with stories laced with clues and red herrings. While I love Sherlock and have reread Doyle’s stories many times, the writers that my father read to me and who influenced my writing and the development of my PI, Spencer Manning, were waiting in the wings.
In the early 1900s, the British mystery novel made its debut. The stories were set in small villages and involved rich aristocrat families, both as victim and detective. There were many authors, but in 1920 one of the giants appeared on the scene when Agatha Christie published The Mysterious Affair at Styles which introduced her iconic Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Some of Christie’s stories are better than others but they are all fun, light reads. With a different style, much more literary and descriptive (her description of “change ringing” in The Nine Tailors is classic), Dorothy Sayers joined Christie with her detective Lord Peter Wimsey. [Read more…]