The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books
This book tells the story of crime fiction published during the first half of the twentieth century. The diversity of this much-loved genre is breathtaking, and so much greater than many critics have suggested. To illustrate this, the leading expert on classic crime discusses one hundred books ranging from The Hound of the Baskervilles to Strangers on a Train which highlight the entertaining plots, the literary achievements, and the social significance of vintage crime fiction. This book serves as a companion to the acclaimed British Library Crime Classics series but it tells a very diverse story. It presents the development of crime fiction-from Sherlock Holmes to the end of the golden age-in an accessible, informative and engaging style.Readers who enjoy classic crime will make fascinating discoveries and learn about forgotten gems as well as bestselling authors. Even the most widely read connoisseurs will find books (and trivia) with which they are unfamiliar-as well as unexpected choices to debate. Classic crime is a richly varied and deeply pleasurable genre that is enjoying a world-wide renaissance as dozens of neglected novels and stories are resurrected for modern readers to enjoy. The overriding aim of this book is to provide a launch point that enables readers to embark on their own voyages of discovery.

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books Details

TitleThe Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books
Author
ReleaseAug 1st, 2017
PublisherPoisoned Pen Press
ISBN-139781464207211
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Mystery, Writing, Books About Books, Criticism, Literary Criticism, Crime

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books Review

  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Having loved, “The Golden Age of Murder,” by Martin Edwards, I was keen to read his latest discussion of Golden Age crime – “The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books.” Edwards looks at the period 1901 – 1950 and he does not only list one hundred books, but throws in lots of other titles and themes, which he explores as he explains the development of the genre. I have always enjoyed Golden Age crime novels and so I was fascinated to read this and it has added an awful lot of titles and authors to Having loved, “The Golden Age of Murder,” by Martin Edwards, I was keen to read his latest discussion of Golden Age crime – “The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books.” Edwards looks at the period 1901 – 1950 and he does not only list one hundred books, but throws in lots of other titles and themes, which he explores as he explains the development of the genre. I have always enjoyed Golden Age crime novels and so I was fascinated to read this and it has added an awful lot of titles and authors to those I would like to read!The book begins with “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” before moving on to the birth of the Golden Age, the importance of the First World War, and the formation of the Detection Club. One of the reasons why British Golden Age crime fiction developed in such a different way from that in the United States (where ‘hard boiled’ crime thrillers became popular) was the public appetite for puzzles, entertainment and escapism. There was little desire for violent realism after the war – a body laid decorously on a hearth rug, with clues to solve, was much more to the public taste at the time. Indeed, there was an emphasis on fair play and on mysteries readers could work out for themselves. This even included novellas where the pages were deliberately printed in the wrong order as a challenge, which proved so difficult it was discontinued.This book covers the ‘Great Detectives,’ that emerged post WWI. Poirot, Wimsey and their authors – Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers; plus Margery Allingham, Gladys Mitchell and many others. There are locked door mysteries, novels set in villages, country houses, London and on the Continent. Others set around workplaces, holidays, or in schools and universities. Police detectives and amateur sleuths, courtroom drama, the author equivalent of the ‘One Hit Wonder,’ and much more.If you enjoy Golden Age crime then this will give you lots to enjoy and to explore. I love reading about books, and authors, and this has just given me lots of ‘new’ authors that I want to try. With more and more classic crime novels being re-printed, many of these books – which were previously so hard to find – have now re-appeared on kindle at reasonable prices. It is a great time to be a fan of the genre and, if you are just beginning to read these kind of crime novels, this will help guide you to find the types of books, and authors, you might like. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
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  • Melindam
    January 1, 1970
    Arc received by the Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The main aim of detective stories is to entertain, but the best cast a light on human behaviour, and display both literary ambition and accomplishment. And there is a reason why millions of readers continue to appreciate classic crime fiction. Even unpretentious detective stories, written for unashamedly commercial reasons, can give us clues to the past, and give us insight into a long-vanished world that, for all its Arc received by the Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The main aim of detective stories is to entertain, but the best cast a light on human behaviour, and display both literary ambition and accomplishment. And there is a reason why millions of readers continue to appreciate classic crime fiction. Even unpretentious detective stories, written for unashamedly commercial reasons, can give us clues to the past, and give us insight into a long-vanished world that, for all its imperfections, continues to fascinate." Informative, engaging and entertaining without being too dry or incomprehensibly highbrow. It offers interesting facts, insights and trivia to a wide variety of crime fiction books in the first half of the 20th century from widely read to forgotten and unknown gems. Martin Edwards, while certainly piquing our curiosity, kindly refrains from revealing the solution to the mysteries. It is like holding a precious map that will accompany you on a delightful exploration into the genre. You will meet your well-known and loved author-figures, while chancing upon "intriguing strangers" and familiar authors you did not even know wrote crime fiction.Highly recommended.
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  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    Books, books, glorious books...Having fallen deeply in love with the whole British Library Crime Classics thing, this book was bound to be right up my alley – a dark alley, full of sinister shadows and red herrings, of course! Martin Edwards has done a lot of the introductions for the novels in the BL collection and is the editor of all the great themed short story anthologies, so he knows his stuff. Here he looks at the rise of the crime novel and its development throughout the first half of th Books, books, glorious books...Having fallen deeply in love with the whole British Library Crime Classics thing, this book was bound to be right up my alley – a dark alley, full of sinister shadows and red herrings, of course! Martin Edwards has done a lot of the introductions for the novels in the BL collection and is the editor of all the great themed short story anthologies, so he knows his stuff. Here he looks at the rise of the crime novel and its development throughout the first half of the last century. The book is split into themed sections, and is arranged roughly chronologically, although with some crossover in dates between the different groups. It starts with A New Era Dawns, which takes us back to look at some of the authors and books that pre-dated the Golden Age but influenced it: for example, Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles and Edgar Wallace's The Four Just Men. The next chapter looks at The Birth of the Golden Age, then on to The Great Detectives, and so on; through to The Psychology of Crime, as straight mystery novels began to give way a little to the more character driven books, like those of Patricia Highsmith, which formed a kind of bridge to the more psychological crime novels of today. Some of the chapters look at particular sub-genres with chapter titles that often mirror the themed short story collections – Capital Crimes (London based), Continental Crimes, Miraculous Mysteries (locked room mysteries), etc. And, although the vast majority of the books listed are British, Edwards takes a brief look at what was happening Across the Atlantic and also a few from Europe and elsewhere around the world. The main aim of detective stories is to entertain, but the best cast a light on human behaviour, and display both literary ambition and accomplishment. And there is another reason why millions of modern readers continue to appreciate classic crime fiction. Even unpretentious detective stories, written for unashamedly commercial reasons, can give us clues to the past, and give us insight into a long-vanished world that, for all its imperfections, continues to fascinate. Edwards writes knowledgeably but conversationally, so that it never feels as if one is being lectured by an expert – rather it's like having a chat with a well-read friend. He starts each chapter with a discussion around its theme, in which, I feel I have to warn you, he routinely mentions umpteen books which aren't part of the hundred but all sound like must-reads! He shows how the genre and various sub-genres developed, and gives a clear impression of how back then crime writers were as much of a community as they are now, feeding off each other and often referencing each other's work. Several of the authors were also critics and reviewers, and Edwards draws on their work to show how particular books and authors were thought of at the time. He discusses how the books reflect and were influenced by contemporary society and events, putting into context the “snobbishness” of some Golden Age writers that can sometimes be off-putting for the modern reader. With relatively few exceptions, they [Golden Age crime writers] came from well-to-do families, and were educated at public school; many went to Oxford or Cambridge. . . .Theirs was, in many ways, a small and elitist world, and this helps to explain why classic crime novels often include phonetic renditions of the dialogue of working-class people which make modern readers cringe. Some of the attitudes evident and implicit in the books of highly educated authors, for instance as regards Jewish and gay people, would be unacceptable in fiction written in the twenty-first century. It is worth remembering that theirs was not only a tiny world, but also a very different one from ours, and one of the pleasures of reading classic crime is that it affords an insight into the Britain of the past, a country in some respects scarcely recognisable today. Following these interesting introductions, he lists the books he has selected for each section. He makes it clear he doesn't necessarily think they're all brilliant – rather, he feels they're either an important link in the development of the crime novel, or a good representative example of the sub-genre under discussion. There are some well known classics here – The Lodger, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, The Franchise Affair, The Dain Curse, etc. But there are also zillions that I had never heard of. Talking of zillions, I should mention that the 100 Books are actually 102 Books – a baffling mystery in itself! Edwards gives a brief spoiler-free preview of the plot of each book and then discusses why he's included it. He also includes some biographical details of the author, mainly more literary than personal, but often including interesting anecdotes about them. Edwards is the current President of the Detection Club amongst other things, and he tells us quite a lot about the history and membership of that organisation as he goes along too.So you can tell the book is positively stuffed full of info, which left me with a much greater understanding of the development of the genre and an uncontrollable desire to pop off and search for all 102 books. And the good thing is that, following the BL's lead, lots of publishers are bringing these old books back into print, or at least into e-books, so of the sample of 20 or so that I checked, the vast majority are available at prices that won't require me to defraud a bank or poison a rich relative. Though I'm pretty sure that I'm knowledgeable enough now to do either and get away with it...Highly recommended to anyone who'd like to know more about the history of the crime novel, or who'd like to read some of the classic books but doesn't know quite where to begin. But I'd say this book would also be great for people who already know quite a bit about the genre – it's so packed with goodies I can't imagine many people wouldn't learn something from it as well as being entertained by some of the stories about the authors. Personally, I feel a new challenge coming on... NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press (who publish the Kindle versions of the British Library Crime Classics series).www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    This is a brilliant book but with a catch. First of all a little back ground. The British Library as well as being well a library is also as publisher too, and for a while now they have been reprinting classic crime novels and short stories. Now they their aim is to bring back in to the light many lost classics - primarily from the period between the two world wars where British crime really had its heyday. Many of the titles have long since fallen out of print let along out the public eye howev This is a brilliant book but with a catch. First of all a little back ground. The British Library as well as being well a library is also as publisher too, and for a while now they have been reprinting classic crime novels and short stories. Now they their aim is to bring back in to the light many lost classics - primarily from the period between the two world wars where British crime really had its heyday. Many of the titles have long since fallen out of print let along out the public eye however they are classics for a reason. So some are for the story others for their technical merits and some others still for their legacy. After all many of these books though you may not realise have shaped crime fiction to today. So what has it got to do with this book - well this book also published from the British Library represents a catalogue of the top 100 books from the era and although the book does not talk about the plot line it does give an overview with the ideas of showing why it was selected and what its lasting legacy is. So if you are it to lists, reviews and classic crime (which even by the reviewers own admission can be painfully dated) then this book is for you. Yes the 100 or so entries and the supporting notes from luminaries and scholars alike can be a little daunting if not dry - you could not read this book is a single session - do got to show that there are many amazing books out there which need to find their way back in to print (think of the SF gateway for science fiction).Yes this book is a companion to the stories but not all will be printed that are listed in this book for several reasons that cannot be however this is a brilliant spring board in to classic British crime and I look forward to reading many more from the series - as it appears to not be slowing down its publishing schedule any time soon
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  • Eli Easton
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book for review. I’m going to go ahead and review it early, because it is available for pre-order, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to get a copy ASAP.I love book lists, especially well thought-out published lists like this one from experts in the field. It’s like having your own personal guru in a genre give you recommendations. And God knows, in this age when all the online sites are rife with very opinionated, inexpert reviews, we need an educated guide no I received an ARC of this book for review. I’m going to go ahead and review it early, because it is available for pre-order, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to get a copy ASAP.I love book lists, especially well thought-out published lists like this one from experts in the field. It’s like having your own personal guru in a genre give you recommendations. And God knows, in this age when all the online sites are rife with very opinionated, inexpert reviews, we need an educated guide now more than ever.I love classic mysteries and thrillers and have read my share. But I enjoy finding those hidden gems that weren’t written by the top 3-4 authors in the genre (long may they reign). I have examined the “Top 100 mystery books” lists from the Crime Writer’s Association and the Mystery Writer’s of America. Though I have not read all the books, I am familiar with the titles. What I like about this new book is that there are a number of titles on it that I’ve never heard of, and they look quite intriguing.The author takes an interesting approach of talking about the development of mystery novels over time and using specific recommended volumes as examples. This offers a context and backstory to the books that make them much more interesting. For example, “The Four Just Men” by Edgar Wallace, published in 1905, was written with a marketing gimmick–that the public be invited to help solve the crime. Wallace published the story himself and offered a cash reward of 500 pounds to readers who could deduce the solution. Unfortunately, the book sold like hot cakes, and so many people guessed the solution that the author nearly ruined himself paying them off! But this idea of “challenging the reader” to guess the solution was a popular theme of the mystery novels that immediately followed–minus the cash prize, of course.This is the sort of background I love to read about, and it helps me understand and appreciate the mystery genre even more. Beyond the value of these tidbits of history, the books Edwards discusses are new to me and quite interesting. I’ve already placed a half dozen of them on my “must be read soon” list.For example, “Tracks in the Snow” by Godfrey R. Benson (1906), is a cozy British village mystery in which someone is accused of murder based on misleading footprints in the snow. I love village mysteries, where the few handful of local characters everyone has known all their lives are suddenly suspect because one of them is a killer. Edwards also gives a brief bio of the authors, which helps establish his or her bone fides. In this case, Benson was a philosophy professor at Balliol who later became an MP, Mayor, and peer. To me, it makes the book much more interesting knowing what sort of person wrote it and wondering about his view of life. Now I’m really curious to read it.This analysis runs through 100 titles from “Hounds of the Baskervilles” (1902) to “The 31st of February” by Julian Symons (1950). Some of the books were familar to me such as “Strangers on a Train” by Patricia Highsmith and “The Murder at the Vicarage” by Agatha Christie. But by far the majority of these titles are new to me. There’s something about vintage mystery that makes me feel all cozy and happy and that feeling can’t be matched by recent titles. I’m thrilled to have a whole new stash to dig into thanks to Martin Edwards.This book is a wonderful treasure map. If you love the mystery genre like i do, or even if you just dabble in it occasionally, you will want to take advantage of Mr. Edward’s thoughtful insight and directions. Highly recommended.As a bonus, the book introduced me to the British Library of Classic Crime published by Poisoned Pen (here’s a link). These are new editions of some of these older gems that have long been out of print, all with gorgeous themed covers. I’m so glad they are bringing back these books, in ebook form especially since I’m addicted to my ipad. Thank you Poisoned Pen!
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  • Damaskcat
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley.One of my favourite genres is crime fiction and in general I prefer classic crime to modern crime novels so I was pleased to read this. Martin Edwards explores the sub-genre through a selection of one hundred books published between 1901 and 1950. If you think that the books written in the so-called Golden Age of crime fiction were all set in country houses and featured a body in the library this book might make you think again. The more books I I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley.One of my favourite genres is crime fiction and in general I prefer classic crime to modern crime novels so I was pleased to read this. Martin Edwards explores the sub-genre through a selection of one hundred books published between 1901 and 1950. If you think that the books written in the so-called Golden Age of crime fiction were all set in country houses and featured a body in the library this book might make you think again. The more books I read in the sub-genre the more I am surprised by the variety of plots and backgrounds.The author doesn't confine himself to just one hundred books and many others are referred to or described in more detail. He is very careful not to give away the plots so if you don't like to know what happens in a book you are about to read you can safely read this book without fearing you will come across any spoilers.The well known names are all here - Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L Sayers - but there are plenty of authors' whose names are not so well know these days such as George Bellairs, Michael Gilbert, Anthony Gilbert as well as Francis Iles and Roy Horniman. There is an index of titles of books mentioned in the text as well as a separate index of authors and a conventional index of the text. There is also a useful bibliography if you want to explore the subject in further depth.This book is a must have for anyone who enjoys crime fiction and it makes a useful companion to the British Museum series of classic crime novels which has been such an unexpected success with the reading public. Be aware that you will find yourself adding many books to your wish list and I found myself constantly stopping while I was reading to see if a book mentioned is available as an e-book. There are increasing numbers of classic crime novels available again showing that many people do still enjoy this type of crime novel.
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  • Moonlight Reader
    January 1, 1970
    This book was very bad for my tbr.Martin Edwards has forgotten more about golden age mysteries than I ever knew.
  • Judy Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    I received an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press. Thank you.The crime stories written during the Golden Age of crime have proven their ability to remain entertaining and even addictive among modern readers of crime fiction. These books are different in many ways from the modern novels but if you look closely you will recognize an aspect in the modern book which mirrors a theme or technique which was once considered brand new. Martin Edwards has once again given me a meth I received an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press. Thank you.The crime stories written during the Golden Age of crime have proven their ability to remain entertaining and even addictive among modern readers of crime fiction. These books are different in many ways from the modern novels but if you look closely you will recognize an aspect in the modern book which mirrors a theme or technique which was once considered brand new. Martin Edwards has once again given me a method for studying the classic crime novel and the authors who paved the way for all the changes which have taken place within the genre. This book confines itself to the first half of the last century, between 1901 and 1950, and is a companion to the series of the British Library's series of crime classics. If you've enjoyed reading any of those reprints, this work will go far toward filling out your knowledge of the authors, titles, and themes which moved the classic crime fiction stories forward as they continued to change and evolve.There is simply too much information in this book to give anything like a list of authors or even a list of book titles. I can tell you that there are twenty-four chapters, each dealing with a different aspect of the novels from miraculous murders (also called impossible murders) to the lure of the countryside, the English manor house, the amateur detective, the educated sleuth, the backlash against politicians and on and on. In each chapter Edwards explains the theme, gives a brief synopsis of the examples of the novels he has chosen to illustrate the theme and a brief biography of the author. Each chapter discusses four or five novels. The book as a whole moves in a more or less chronological order, at least in the easiest way for the format to do that.The book also contains an Introduction, Select Bibliography, Index of Titles, and an Index of Authors which all provide a tremendous amount of detail on the subject. This is a book to savor, a book to keep as a reference guide, a book to help you find authors you aren't familiar with but want to try to track down. Even the most well known authors may have a novel mentioned in this collection which you have missed. I was equally surprised at how many of the authors and stories I was familiar with as well as how many authors I knew nothing about. Even though I initially read this book in digital format I already know I will have to get the print edition so it can go on my shelf of Classic Age crime fiction reference books. How could I resist?
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  • John Plowright
    January 1, 1970
    ‘The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books’ by Martin Edwards (himself an award-winning crime writer) serves as a companion to the British Library’s series of Crime Classics but spreads its net wider to include some books which originated outside Britain, such as Ellery Queen’s ‘Calamity Town’ and George Simenon’s ‘Pietr the Latvian’.Edwards defines a ‘classic’ crime book as “a novel or story collection published between 1901 and 1950 which … remain of particular interest … to present-day lovers o ‘The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books’ by Martin Edwards (himself an award-winning crime writer) serves as a companion to the British Library’s series of Crime Classics but spreads its net wider to include some books which originated outside Britain, such as Ellery Queen’s ‘Calamity Town’ and George Simenon’s ‘Pietr the Latvian’.Edwards defines a ‘classic’ crime book as “a novel or story collection published between 1901 and 1950 which … remain of particular interest … to present-day lovers of detective fiction” because of their “plot, character, setting, humour, social or historic significance” or some combination of these factors. It is not a list of ‘best’ or ‘favourite’ titles but seeks to showcase, within a broadly chronological and thematic approach, the diversity of the genre. Thus although many well-known books by authors of literary merit such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, G. K. Chesterton and Dorothy Leigh Sayers are included, room is also made for more pedestrian authors and more obscure volumes.Edwards claims that as “far as possible, I have avoided including ‘spoilers’ revealing solutions to mysteries”. Sometimes he could have tried harder, for example, in relation to G. K. Chesterton’s ‘The Invisible Man’, although to be fair the title of that short story itself comes pretty close to acting as a spoiler in itself. Somewhat oddly, Edwards refers to the recent Mark Williams incarnation of Father Brown but not that of Kenneth More or Alec Guinness, the latter being all the more surprising given that the film ‘Father Brown – Detective’ is loosely based on the short story ‘The Blue Cross’, which he specifically mentions in his piece on ‘The Innocence of Father Brown’. Nevertheless, the overriding impression is that Edwards really knows his stuff and relishes in sharing his knowledge. His book is probably best dipped into, although reading the introduction to each chapter provides an enjoyable potted history of crime fiction over the period covered. Thus, like all good books, this one is likely to stimulate further reading.
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  • KayKay
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advanced reading copy from Poisoned Pen Press in exchange of my honest review. My pleasure, as always, to savor another high quality upcoming release offered by the publisher. In my humble opinion, "The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books" is another must-have for any classic mysteries lovers.Editor Martin Edwards, by all means, a knowledgeable expert in the classic mystery genre. He introduces the subject of the genre is by grouping the chosen stories in different themes and prese I received an advanced reading copy from Poisoned Pen Press in exchange of my honest review. My pleasure, as always, to savor another high quality upcoming release offered by the publisher. In my humble opinion, "The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books" is another must-have for any classic mysteries lovers.Editor Martin Edwards, by all means, a knowledgeable expert in the classic mystery genre. He introduces the subject of the genre is by grouping the chosen stories in different themes and presenting them in a broadly chronological order. In short, the book is just like a field guide and a desktop reference on the subject matter. For each story, Edwards includes a concise synopsis with a brief analysis of its underlying theme. Both experienced crime readers or novices would definitely find something new and exciting to add to their to-be-read-lists. Not only British writers are discussed, few renowned American crime writers could be found in this crime-guide as well. "The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books" is extremely well written. It is indeed an informational book written in a storytelling form. Fun, insightful, and engrossing. This is one the books that I know I will never recommend enough to friends who enjoy reading great classic mysteries. Awesome contents, beautiful art cover. I simply can't ask for more. My sincere gratitude to both Mr. Martin Edwards and Poisoned Pen Press for their continuous contributions to bringing new excitements to their readers. Release date: August 1, 2017.
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  • Eric
    January 1, 1970
    Probably 3.5 stars.Martin Edwards’ Introduction sets out the limitations of this book. It is a “story” and not a “history”. It serves as a companion to the British Library’s Crime Classics series, covering only the first half of the twentieth century.It does not try to define the best books nor is it a selection of his own favourites, being highly selective and not an encyclopaedia. It is “unashamedly idiosyncratic” and simply a launch point for the readers’ voyage of discovery through the water Probably 3.5 stars.Martin Edwards’ Introduction sets out the limitations of this book. It is a “story” and not a “history”. It serves as a companion to the British Library’s Crime Classics series, covering only the first half of the twentieth century.It does not try to define the best books nor is it a selection of his own favourites, being highly selective and not an encyclopaedia. It is “unashamedly idiosyncratic” and simply a launch point for the readers’ voyage of discovery through the waters of classic crime fiction.The book has 24 themed chapters for example “Making Fun of Murder” and “Scientific Enquiries”and runs from “The Hound of the Baskervilles”(1902) to “The 31st of February” and “Strangers on a Train”(1950), although references are made to earlier and later publications.There are also a Select Bibliography and Index of Authors, the latter without page references.Each chapter follows a pattern. First, there is a general survey of the chapter theme, then a summary of the plots (without spoilers) of at least three and up to eleven of the relevant books, each summary ending with a brief biography of the author.Chapter Six ,“Serpents in Eden”, for example, surveys books set in rural Britain from Wilkie Collins’ “The Moonstone” (1868) to Ann Cleeves’ Shetland series taking in authors well- and lesser-known such as Agatha Christie and John Ferguson (1871/3-1952).Summarised are “The Secret of High Eldersham” (my least favourite Miles Burton),”Death under Sail” ‘(an early C P Snow), John Bude’s “The Sussex Downs Murder”,(a good methodical detective yarn) and “Sinister Crag” by Newton Gayle (the pen name of Muna Lee and Maurice Guiness ), which I had not encountered before. So a nice mixture of familiar and unfamiliar, the often- read and the to-be-explored.There will be something here for all but the most expert of classic crime buffs. Endless debate will had on which books and authors should/should not have been included.My own particular favourites, E R Punshon and George Bellairs, are mentioned, but only briefly.I did not much enjoy this book, finding the format rather repetitive. It may be that it is better used as a dip-into rather than a read from cover-to-cover.It will certainly appeal to list-addicts and to fans of the British Library series who will find some of the chapter headings familiar.In a lot of ways it read to me rather like a cobbling together of the sort of information found in the introductions to books and stories from the B.L. Crime Classics.Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC
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  • GONZA
    January 1, 1970
    The perfect history of crime books, from the beginning till now, because it gave me a lot of suggestions for new books to read and old authors to explore further!Il perfetto libro sulla storia del giallo dall'esordio fino ai giorni d'oggi, che ti offre numerosi nuovi spunti e suggerimenti per approfondire autori "vecchi".THANKS TO NETGALLEY FOR THE PREVIEW!
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  • Erin Britton
    January 1, 1970
    Martin Edwards’ latest nonfiction book, The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books, serves as a companion volume to the British Library’s excellent Crime Classics series and it aims to tell the story of crime fiction published during the first half of the twentieth century. While the so-called “Golden Age” of detective fiction (that is, roughly, the period between the two world wars) is very well-known (and is itself the subject of another great book by Edwards, The Golden Age of Murder), the perio Martin Edwards’ latest nonfiction book, The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books, serves as a companion volume to the British Library’s excellent Crime Classics series and it aims to tell the story of crime fiction published during the first half of the twentieth century. While the so-called “Golden Age” of detective fiction (that is, roughly, the period between the two world wars) is very well-known (and is itself the subject of another great book by Edwards, The Golden Age of Murder), the period said to encompass classic crime fiction actually extends quite far beyond that timeframe. Of course, defining a classic in any genre is a tricky business, but for the purposes of this book, a crime classic is “a novel or story collection published between 1901 and 1950 which seems … to remain of particular interest – for whatever reason – to present-day lovers of detective fiction.” Using such an expansive definition when selecting the titles to include in this book means that Edwards has been able to feature an amazing range of books that highlight the best (and, occasionally, the worst) of the crime genre.As The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books is intended to discuss the development of the crime genre as well as to illustrate its startling breadth and significance, it is organised thematically rather than in a straightforward chronological fashion, with each of the twenty-four chapters being dedicated to a particular facet of classic crime fiction. For instance, the “Murder at the Manor” chapter concerns the hugely popular strand of detective stories that take place within English country houses. Such a setting allows for a closed circle of suspects, which certainly helps armchair detectives to keep pace with the investigations of their fictional counterparts, and provides a perfect backdrop for the time-honoured final chapter denouncement that was used so well by authors such as Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh.Each chapter begins with an overview of its theme, which allows Edwards to reference a host of germane books, before moving on to look at several key titles in detail (albeit without venturing into spoiler territory). For example, the “Multiplying Murders” chapter, which concerns the arrival of serial killers within crime fiction, includes tantalising references to books such as Before the Fact by Francis Iles, The Silk Stockings Murders by Anthony Berkley and The Sweepstake Murders by J.J. Connington in addition to a detailed exploration of Christopher Bush’s The Perfect Murder Case, Francis Beeding’s Death Walks in Eastrepps, Martin Porlock’s X v. Rex, J. Jefferson Farjeon’s The Z Murders and Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders.One of the joys of the British Library’s growing collection of classic crime anthologies is the inclusion, alongside works by still famous authors, of lost treasures by authors who were once at the pinnacle of their genre but who have now been largely forgotten. Happily, The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books adopts a similar approach by mixing discussion of well-known books with that concerning far more obscure titles. Indeed, due to the thematic approach, in addition to the 100 key titles that are discussed, approximately another 700 crime books are referenced, so there’s pretty much no way readers (whether classic crime buffs or more casual fans) are going to escape without adding a considerable number of new books to their “to be purchased” lists. Some of the more obscure titles might currently prove costly and difficult to track down, but books such as The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books and the continuing popularity of reprints of classic stories will hopefully mean that they become more widely available again in the future.The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books is a highly readable volume; it’s densely packed with information, anecdotes and recommendations, but Martin Edwards’ writing style is such that every snippet concerning every book or author is interesting and well told. The amount of research that must have gone into preparing the book is tremendous, since even when discussing extremely well-known books, he manages to include some surprising and little-known facts. For instance, The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of the most beloved of crime novels and it is arguably Arthur Conan Doyle’s most popular book, but surly not many people know that the idea behind the story actually came from a journalist (and occasional crime writer) named Bertram Fletcher Robinson, who was at one time going to co-write the book (which would not have featured Sherlock Holmes) with Conan Doyle. In addition to the text providing a wealth of fascinating information, The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books is a beautifully produced volume, which includes a fine selection of photographs of iconic book covers as well as some delightful maps and plans of [fictional] crime scenes. It really is a joy to read, whether cover to cover or on a more “dip in, dip out” basis. It’s definitely a “must have” book for anyone with an interest in classic crime fiction.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    Don't let the title mislead you. The book discusses far more than 100 mysteries. It does, however, provide a little more depth of coverage on about 100 titles. The book is intended as a companion volume to the British Library Crime Classics series. It arranges the mysteries into categories by the types of mysteries they are. (For example, locked room, vacation spots, manor houses, etc.) Mystery lovers are certain to find a few books they missed through the years to add to their to-be-read lists. Don't let the title mislead you. The book discusses far more than 100 mysteries. It does, however, provide a little more depth of coverage on about 100 titles. The book is intended as a companion volume to the British Library Crime Classics series. It arranges the mysteries into categories by the types of mysteries they are. (For example, locked room, vacation spots, manor houses, etc.) Mystery lovers are certain to find a few books they missed through the years to add to their to-be-read lists. Fortunately the British Library Crime Classics series is making many of these readily available for a new generation of readers to discover. I received an advance electronic galley of the title from the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.
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  • Vanessa
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastically curated overview of classic crime from Mr. Edwards and Poisoned Pen Press, an editor and publisher that can always be trusted to rediscover gems for the mystery fan. Mr. Edwards gives the reader just enough detail in surveying each novel to both place it in the timeline, or subject grouping, that is being discussed and to pique the reader's interest without unraveling the mystery; a fine line that he walks wonderfully well. An index of titles in the end will provide the reader with Fantastically curated overview of classic crime from Mr. Edwards and Poisoned Pen Press, an editor and publisher that can always be trusted to rediscover gems for the mystery fan. Mr. Edwards gives the reader just enough detail in surveying each novel to both place it in the timeline, or subject grouping, that is being discussed and to pique the reader's interest without unraveling the mystery; a fine line that he walks wonderfully well. An index of titles in the end will provide the reader with a "To Read" list for the next foreseeable chunk of time - I know I'll be searching out these authors at my local! A hearty recommend.I received an ecopy from the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Leyla Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    This book is huge. There is so much information and so many authors that I just haven't yet read. I found the book very interesting, but initially confusing until I got used to the way the information flowed, having said that, I really enjoyed the book. It isn't a book to read in one sitting, but something to dip, search and find a new favourite author. The biographies were very interesting, so many author who did it hard and/or died young. Their skill were not recognized, yet they wrote with su This book is huge. There is so much information and so many authors that I just haven't yet read. I found the book very interesting, but initially confusing until I got used to the way the information flowed, having said that, I really enjoyed the book. It isn't a book to read in one sitting, but something to dip, search and find a new favourite author. The biographies were very interesting, so many author who did it hard and/or died young. Their skill were not recognized, yet they wrote with such skill and imagination. We must make up for that now by reading, enjoy, and celebrating these very talented writers.
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  • Lauren LaTulip
    January 1, 1970
    The Story of Classic Crime outlines many of the best authors and notable crime and mystery books written in Britain, particularly during the first half of the twentieth century. Any mystery fan will adore finding out about the first canine detective, or the various satirical versions of Gaudy Night that were written in the late 1930's. Not strictly chronological, the chapters explore different themes, so any reader looking for pointers to classic mysteries in their favourite genre will find a ri The Story of Classic Crime outlines many of the best authors and notable crime and mystery books written in Britain, particularly during the first half of the twentieth century. Any mystery fan will adore finding out about the first canine detective, or the various satirical versions of Gaudy Night that were written in the late 1930's. Not strictly chronological, the chapters explore different themes, so any reader looking for pointers to classic mysteries in their favourite genre will find a rich vein to explore. Highly recommend, I'll be buying a print copy to annotate and use as a reading guide.
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  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    A fascinating study of Golden Age crime fiction, mainly the crime fiction of the UK, although many of the writers featured are from all points of the compass. Each chapter consists of an essay and then 3 or 4 capsule reviews of books that illustrate the author's point(s). I found at least 40 books I want to read next. Note that there are no spoilers in these reviews, just tantalising hints.This is the second of Martin Edwards'books I've read recently, the first being his “The Golden Age of Murde A fascinating study of Golden Age crime fiction, mainly the crime fiction of the UK, although many of the writers featured are from all points of the compass. Each chapter consists of an essay and then 3 or 4 capsule reviews of books that illustrate the author's point(s). I found at least 40 books I want to read next. Note that there are no spoilers in these reviews, just tantalising hints.This is the second of Martin Edwards'books I've read recently, the first being his “The Golden Age of Murder”. The two books make an excellent marriage.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    ‘The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books’ is a fascinating, insightful and knowledgeable look at the history of classic crime. Martin Edwards has brought together a comprehensive selection of books illustrating how classic crime evolved, how it started, the main influencers and the writing trends. This is a must for the shelf of any classic crime lover – although one word of warning, it will easily double your books-I-must-read list! I now have a lovely little list compiled after reading this bo ‘The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books’ is a fascinating, insightful and knowledgeable look at the history of classic crime. Martin Edwards has brought together a comprehensive selection of books illustrating how classic crime evolved, how it started, the main influencers and the writing trends. This is a must for the shelf of any classic crime lover – although one word of warning, it will easily double your books-I-must-read list! I now have a lovely little list compiled after reading this book that will keep me going for some time. Oh well, you can never have too many books! This is a companion to The British Library Crime Classics series, whilst it does detail a few books in the series don’t expect all the books listed to be Crime Classics. This is a happy blend of the famous and the overlooked novels of the Golden Age period. Books that have sold in the thousands sit comfortably among the underdogs, both providing an important part of classic crime fiction.I had expected this to take me awhile to get through as I don’t read a lot of non-fiction and when I do they take me awhile to read, but I happily whizzed through this. Each chapter of the book looks at a different aspect of classic crime and my favourite chapters have to be – ‘Murder at the Manor’, ‘Resorting to Murder’, ‘Inverted Mysteries’ and ‘The Great Detectives’. These were the chapters to blame for most of my new must-reads.An intriguing and entertaining read.
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  • Daniela Kraml
    January 1, 1970
    So not only like to read books, no I even like to read books about books, so what?Mr. Edwards tries to tell the Story of Classic Crime in 100 books (1900 to 1950), but we get to know a lot more, and not just a lot more books, as he doesn't really stop with the 100 examples.All in all a well written informative read that just keeps adding to my to read list.Thanks to netgalley.com for the ARC.
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  • Matthew Barnes
    January 1, 1970
    A really great guide to the golden age of detective fiction and a lovely companion to the British Library Crime Classics series. Full review: https://booksmjb.blogspot.com/2017/05...
  • Puzzle Doctor
    January 1, 1970
    An essential read for fans of crime fiction. Full review at classicmystery.wordpress.com
  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    Great read. For my full review click on the link below:https://crossexaminingcrime.wordpress...
  • Jessi
    January 1, 1970
    There's unfortunately not a lot to say about this book. Martin Edwards has put together several good anthologies of classic mysteries based on various themes: crimes on the continent, locked room mysteries, winter crimes. Here, he writes short descriptions of the 100 books that have helped to frame mysteries as we know them today. These are not the 100 best books by anyone's standards but it is a nice mix of names that I knew and names that were new to me.
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