Searching for the best detective podcasts? We read 11 books in 2022, with 12 more coming in 2023! Listen in!
If you landed on this page, chances are you’re:
- Addicted to the best mysteries, detective stories, and thrillers ever written.
- A podcast junkie.
- A personal fan of Sarah’s or mine. (Or both!)
However you got here, we’re glad you’ve arrived. Oh, yes. You’ve come to the right place, my friend.
In 2022, we traveled from 1841 through 1910. We read Edgar Allan Poe’s Dupin mysteries, Dickens’ Bleak House, The Notting Hill Mystery, The Mystery of a Hansom Cab, and Lady Molly of Scotland Yard. We also read Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White and The Moonstone and Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet and The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Together, we saw firsthand how the form evolved, and we launched 13 educational and entertaining podcast episodes in 2022! If you’re looking for the best detective podcasts for 2023, we hope you’ll give us a listen!
What We’re Reading in 2023
You’ve been on the hunt for mystery book clubs and detective podcasts, and we’ve got you covered. These are our 2023 book club picks for the Tea, Tonic & Toxin book club and podcast, you mystery lover, you:
- The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton (1911) -This is Chesterton’s first collection of short stories featuring Father Brown, a nondescript Catholic priest who solves crimes using intuition and by tapping into spiritual and philosophic truths rather than scientific details. The stories are clever, thoughtful, and lovely.
- Trent’s Last Case by E. C. Bentley (1913) – This book is considered one of the first “whodunits” – stories in which new clues appear throughout, making it possible for readers to feel as if they’re solving the crime along with the detective. Also, Trent is a “less than perfect” sleuth – in contrast to Sherlock Holmes.
- The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (1915) – When a spy is murdered in Richard Hannay’s London flat, can Hannay manage to stay one step ahead of his pursuers? The story is an early example of the “man-on-the-run” adventure. It’s also a “shocker” that combines personal and political dramas.
- The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (1920) -The story introduces Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. From the Times Literary Supplement (1921): “[The story] is said to be the result of a bet about the possibility of writing a detective story in which the reader would not be able to spot the criminal. Every reader must admit that the bet was won.”
- Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers (1923) – This is the first of 16 detective novels published by Sayers, one of the queens of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. The story introduces Lord Peter Wimsey, considered the father of the amateur “gentleman sleuth” who will appear in many British novels for decades to come.
- The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (1926) -This story has become known as one of Agatha Christie’s most controversial novels due to an unexpected stunner of a twist at the end. Christie considered it her masterpiece. In 2013, the British Crime Writers’ Association voted it the best crime novel ever written.
- Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett (1929) – This book marked Hammett’s transition from short stories to novels. His portrayal of the Continental Op as a “hard-boiled” detective eventually became a prototype for many detective stories to come. A former detective, Hammett knew his stuff.
- The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (1930) – The third-person-objective narrative offers no insights into characters’ thoughts and feelings. Sam Spade’s cool, cynical nature turned this detective into a favorite character who was also popular in movies, most notably the 1941 release, starring Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade.
- Malice Aforethought by Frances Iles (1931) – This book is considered one of the first examples of the “inverted detective story,” in which both the murder AND murderer are revealed at the beginning. The intrigue occurs when the reader sees how the detective unravels the clues to solve the mystery.
- The Case of the Velvet Claws by Erle Stanley Gardner (1933) – We meet criminal defense lawyer and detective Perry Mason for the first time. He’s hired by Eva Belter, who’s being blackmailed. Mason’s secretary, Della Street, says Eva’s “all velvet and claws.” Gardner went on to write 150 books that sold 300 million copies worldwide
- Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (1934) -Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. This page-turner starring Hercule Poirot helps to explain why
- The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers (1934) – Although there is much debate as to whether it’s Sayers’ best novel, many call it her finest literary achievement. The murder method in this story was unique. The idea came from a sixpenny pamphlet that explained bell-ringing.
The Ten Commandments of Golden Age Fiction
Some of the best detective podcasts often focus on true crime. Tea, Tonic & Toxin is a little different. We’re reading and discussing the best detective stories, mysteries, and thrillers ever written. In 2023, we’ll cover the years 1911 through 1934, and we’ll touch on Ronald Knox’s “Ten Commandments.”
It’s worth noting that Knox’s “Ten Commandments” (or “Decalogue”) are pretty outdated now. Still, it helps to know them when reading detective fiction written from around 1911 through the 1930s and beyond.
The commandments are as follows:
1. The criminal must be mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to know.
2. All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.
3. Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.
4. No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.
5. No Chinaman must figure in the story.
6. No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.
7. The detective himself must not commit the crime.
8. The detective is bound to declare any clues which he may discover.
9. The “sidekick” of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal from the reader any thoughts which pass through his mind: his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.
10. Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.