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A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection

Welcome to the Classic Mystery homepage.

This is an educational site containing reading lists and essays on great mysteries, mainly of the pre-1980 era. It concentrates on detective stories, defined as "mysterious situations, such as a murder, disappearance or theft, investigated and solved by detectives", and only occasionally discusses kinds of crime fiction without mystery.

It is designed and written by Michael E. Grost, a mystery fan who lives near Detroit, Michigan, USA.

I hope you enjoy it.

I write mysteries myself. Some detective short stories by me are available (for free) on my mystery fiction page. These include twenty impossible crime tales! Please click to get a free E-book in EPUB or Kindle format with several short stories. (If the download link does not work, please e-mail me at mike@mikegrost.com and I will send you the stories.)

Please mail your comments to me at mike@mikegrost.com. (Clicking here will bring up mail.) I am eager to hear what you think. You can also visit my web sites Classic Film and Television, Classic Comic Books and A History of American Art, and my personal home page.

You can get an alphabetic list of mystery writers discussed in this web site, or you can browse the complete list of articles directly below.

A Syllabus (Reading List) for an Introductory Course in Classic Mystery Fiction has been written by me. It can be used by teachers to build classes in mystery fiction. And by individual readers who want to introduce themselves to the mystery classics.

You might want to begin by reading the Introduction. The other articles are listed in chronological order of the mystery authors they discuss; each can be read independently. All of the articles are written by me.

Most of the articles above start out with a list of recommended reading. This is followed by essays on the mystery writers in the category. The novels and stories on the lists were ones that I personally enjoyed. They are not a complete list of the author's works. The essays, too, concentrate on authors and works I admire. Very few of them are slams.

Short stories are listed in bullet form under the collections in which they appear; or they can be listed by themselves in quotes. Novels and books have no quotes around their titles. See How to Read the Lists for more information.

A good source for rare mystery and critical books are University libraries.

You will find such topics as:

Introduction: A Brief History of Classic Mystery Fiction.

19th Century Mystery Fiction

Edgar Allan Poe

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Melville and the American Renaissance

Wilkie Collins and Sensation Fiction

Casebook Literature

Émile Gaboriau and His School

Anna Katherine Green and Her School

Turn of the Century Mystery Fiction

Doyle and His School

Rogue Fiction

Mary Roberts Rinehart

Followers of Mary Roberts Rinehart

Literary Visitors

Israel Zangwill, Jacques Futrelle, G.K. Chesterton and Impossible Crimes

Scientific Detection

Scientific Detection: Meade and Eustace, Arthur B. Reeve and Others

Frederick Irving Anderson and Vincent Starrett

Helen Reilly

Philip Wylie

Theodora Du Bois

The Golden Age

Intuitionist School

Agatha Christie

John Dickson Carr

Later Impossible Crimes

Mainly British Golden Age Writers: Ngaio Marsh, Georgette Heyer, A.A. Milne and Others

Unaligned American Golden Age Writers

Visitors From Science Fiction: Isaac Asimov, Jorge Luis Borges, Anthony Boucher, J.G. Ballard and Others

Van Dine School

S.S. Van Dine

Ellery Queen

Stuart Palmer

Craig Rice

Anthony Abbot, Rex Stout and Other Van Dine School Writers

Rufus King

Aaron Marc Stein / George Bagby / Hampton Stone

The Lockridges and Kelley Roos

Patricia McGerr

Edward D. Hoch

Realist School

Realist School

R. Austin Freeman

E.C. Bentley

Freeman Wills Crofts

Dorothy L. Sayers

John Rhode / Miles Burton

E.R. Punshon

Other British Realists

Lawrence Blochman and Other American Realists

Helen McCloy

The Bailey School

The Bailey School: H.C. Bailey, Margery Allingham, Philip MacDonald and Others

Pulp Fiction

Richard Harding Davis, Harvey J. O'Higgins, Christopher Morley

Dashiell Hammett

Hardboiled Fiction: Carroll John Daly and Others

Raymond Chandler and His Followers

Nebel, Constiner, Davis and Other Pulp Mystery Adventure

John K. Butler

Erle Stanley Gardner

Cornell Woolrich and His Followers

Weird Menace

MacKinlay Kantor and Police Fiction

Contemporary Mystery Fiction

The Best Detective Short Stories of the Year A guide to recent years.

Contemporary Formal Mystery

Contemporary Police Procedurals

Contemporary Private Eyes and Thrillers

Children's Mysteries

Techniques

Cladistics: Taxonomies of Mystery Writers' stories: Story Patterns: Genre: Periods: Cognition: Canons in Mystery Fiction Includes a general theory of canons in literature.

Syllabi for Studying Mystery Fiction

By Michael E. Grost: Mystery Course Syllabi Compiled by Elizabeth Foxwell for the Mystery Writers of America.

General Discussion

Integration and Mystery Fiction: Observations on Mystery Writers

Impossible Crimes in Comic Books: A List

A List of Genuine Mystery Movies

How to Read the Lists AND Glossary Also contains links to selected topics in the Guide.

Index: Alphabetic List of Mystery Authors, With Links

External Links

Publishers of classic mysteries: Mystery Blogs: Curious Book Shop The wonderful used book store in East Lansing, Michigan.

Mystery Scene Magazine News magazine covering the mystery field, with many book reviews on-line.

MYSTERY*FILE The Crime Fiction Research Journal, now available on-line.

Barry Ergang His award-winning mystery short stories.

The Thrilling Detective Web Site Huge site on Private Eyes.

A Locked Room Library by John Pugmire

Woman Detectives by Bob Schneider

Golden Age of Detection Wiki Collection of articles on Golden Age mystery (including some works reprinted from this site).

Criminal History A good site about historical mysteries.

Science Fiction Detective Novels at CultureLab.

I wish to record my intellectual debt to the writings of Andrew Sarris. His The American Cinema is both a model and an inspiration to the current Guide.

Sections of this work in progress were first put on the World Wide Web on February 15, 1996. It was most recently updated December 12, 2013. The Guide is being continuously expanded.

(C)Copyright 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 by Michael E. Grost. Reproduction and distribution are permissible for non-profit purposes only, but no changes are to be made to this document without the author's written consent.

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