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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the stories.)
Please mail your comments to me at email@example.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.
Melville and the American Renaissance
Wilkie Collins and Sensation Fiction
Émile Gaboriau and His School
Anna Katherine Green and Her School
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Followers of Rinehart: Dorothy Cameron Disney, Leslie Ford, Mignon G. Eberhart and Others
Israel Zangwill, Jacques Futrelle, G.K. Chesterton and Impossible Crimes
Frederick Irving Anderson and Vincent Starrett
Theodora Du Bois
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
Anthony Abbot, Rex Stout and Other Van Dine School Writers
Aaron Marc Stein / George Bagby / Hampton Stone
The Lockridges and Kelley Roos
Edward D. Hoch
R. Austin Freeman
E.C. Bentley, R.A.J. Walling and Others
Freeman Wills Crofts
Dorothy L. Sayers
John Rhode / Miles Burton
Other British Realists
Lawrence Blochman and Other American Realists
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
MacKinlay Kantor and Police Fiction
Contemporary Formal Mystery
Contemporary Police Procedurals
Contemporary Private Eyes and Thrillers
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
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).
Wyatt James Also known as Grobius Shortling.
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 May 10, 2015. 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, 2014, 2015 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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