Talking About Detective Fiction

Talking About Detective Fiction

Book - 2009
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From one of the most widely admired--and widely read--writers of detective fiction at work today: a personal, lively, and illuminating exploration of the human appetite for mystery and mayhem, and those writers who have satisfied it. Here is the perfect marriage of author and subject: essential for every lover of detective fiction.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9780307592828
Characteristics: viii, 198 p. : ill. ; 20 cm.


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Jun 25, 2015

If you are a fan of P.D. James as it seems that most of the world was, then this examination of her craft, its predecessors and its antecedents is for you. While the focus is on the British tradition, in in its Golden Age, for those well-known names: Doyle, Christie, Sayers, and Allingham, she also includes a homage to Americans such as Dashiell Hammett. The book provided me with a veritable laundry list of titles to search for. But, learning about what makes detective fiction good, made me yearn to write one of my own - poste haste. I've been a fan since high school, and the love of detective fiction is still with me decades later. P.D. is my favorites of the Brits, but she also helped me wonder why I could never stay with Ngaio Marsh: her stories sag in the middle under the severe weight of over investigation. Thank you P.D. - and I wonder, are the initials for Patricia Diane? If so, I would use P.D. too!

ChristchurchLib Jan 12, 2015

For readers who prefer fictional detectives but who have exhausted the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his counterparts, try Talking About Detective Fiction. Written by popular mystery author P.D. James, it offers a lively exploration of British detective fiction (with a few nods to American authors) and the human appetite for mystery and mayhem. James also discusses the stylistic elements of the genre (and how Agatha Christie broke them) as well as her own methods for plotting and writing. Consider this a "master class" (Publishers Weekly) in mystery. Popular Culture January 2015 newsletter.

Mar 13, 2011

P.D. James is an excellent writer and that includes her non-fiction style. This book is an easy read that meanders through the development of detective fiction since its inception. Much focus is given to the 'golden age of detective fiction' and to the four doyennes of that era - Sayers, Christie, Allingham and Marsh. The importance of Wilkie Collins and Conan Doyle is well covered as well as the hard-boiled detectives Philip Marlow and Sam Spade. She helps us to understand how the genre has developed in conjunction with social change and what function it serves for the reader - mainly one of entertainment and reassurance that one can enter a world that is rational and orderly, even if only temporarily, between the covers of a book.

May 06, 2010

Book she was asked to write on the history and significance of the detective story from its Golden Age in the inter-war years to today.

Her thoughts and insights were well worth reading. Made me think what it is I like in a mystery?the plot, the setting, the characters or the themes!


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