Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Talking About Detective Fiction

Talking About Detective FictionBook Information
P. D. James. Talking about Detective Fiction. Knopf, December 2009.

My review
When you are looking for a new read, do you often find yourself heading towards the mystery section? Are you interested in history? "Talking about Detective Fiction" by P.D. James (who wrote the Adam Dalgliesh mysteries) covers the highlights of the history of the English detective novel, from its beginnings in the 1700s and 1800s to recent mystery fiction, including the Inspector Morse novels. James analyses the novels in light of the social history that influenced the time in which they were written.

James' clear writing style, combined with the cartoons sprinkled throughout the book, make this a breezy, enjoyable read.

Personal Notes
I picked this book up for a several reasons. What grabbed my attention first was the format of the book. It's quite small, and with its large margins, I knew it would not be a difficult read. Most importantly, I enjoy reading mysteries. At this moment, my favourite mystery author is G. K. Chesterton (Fr. Brown mystery story anthologies), although I really enjoy Charlaine Harris too, since she writes real page-turners.

Read This Book Already?
Try The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale. It's about the gruesome Road Hill House murder that inspired the writings of both Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens.

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