Dashiell Hammett’s crime novel Red Harvest is more than just a gripping detective story. It’s also a political statement, inspired in part by a true incident – the 1920 Anaconda Road massacre, triggered by a labor dispute in the mining town of Butte, Montana. The story begins with the main character (the Continental Op, based… Continue reading Read the Crime Novel Red Harvest and Tell Us What You Think
When Dorothy L. Sayers wrote Whose Body? (her debut novel, published in 1923), she introduced a detective who would go on to appear in 10 more novels and five collections of short stories. Lord Peter Wimsey was no ordinary detective, however. Readers of the stories about this character will soon recognize him as an early… Continue reading Who Is Lord Peter Wimsey? Was He Based on a Real Person?
If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries, I’m sure you’re already familiar with Hercule Poirot, the eccentric Belgian detective who manages to solve virtually every murder he stumbles across. But did you know The Mysterious Affair at Styles is the novel where he first appears? Seeing the way the detective is introduced in… Continue reading Agatha Christie’s First Poirot Novel Is Still a Classic
This detective novel introduces readers to a British mining engineer – Richard Hannay – who has just returned to London from Rhodesia. The story was written by Scottish author John Buchan and published in 1915. The tale is exciting, fast-moving, and action-packed. Not surprisingly, it was adapted into several different film versions, starting with the… Continue reading What Are the 39 Steps? The Book Holds the Key …
Even though the name of this book is Trent’s Last Case, the novel is actually about the FIRST detective case of detective Philip Trent. Published in 1913, the main character, Philip Trent, is an artist, freelance journalist, and amateur detective sent to report on a case involving the murder of an American business tycoon in… Continue reading Detective Philip Trent in Trent’s Last Case
Long before he started writing his own detective stories, Gilbert Keith (G.K.) Chesterton was already a fan of the genre. He had been reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories about Sherlock Holmes since he was a boy and even tried his hand at writing mysteries of his own with a few stories that were published… Continue reading Father Brown Mystery Stories: Meet a New Type of Detective
Baroness Orczy was a novelist I had never heard of until recently, although her tales featuring Lady Molly of Scotland Yard are well known among detective story fans. That’s why I was surprised to learn the baroness was ALSO the author of The Scarlet Pimpernel – a book I first heard about in high school.… Continue reading Baroness Orczy and Her Unforgettable Characters
This haunting story by Arthur Conan Doyle was my first introduction to Sherlock Holmes – in the 1939 film version of the story, which aired on TV in the late 1960s. But up until recently, if you had asked me “Why is The Hound of the Baskervilles famous?” I wouldn’t have had an answer. Now… Continue reading Why Is The Hound of the Baskervilles Famous?
What do you think of when you hear the term “Victorian locked room mystery”? My first thought was of movies I’d seen where a group of people had been invited to a dinner party in a mansion isolated from the outside world … and then – one by one – they start dying off (not… Continue reading The World’s First Victorian Locked Room Mystery Novel
Prior to hearing about The Big Bow Mystery, I had never heard of Israel Zangwill, author of this mystery novel. What I’ve discovered since then is that Zangwill (who was born in London) was a prolific author of books, plays, essays, and poems. The Big Bow Mystery was one of his earliest works, published in… Continue reading Who Was Israel Zangwill, Author of The Big Bow Mystery?