A hundred years ago, Agatha Christie wrote her first novel, which featured her Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Today, Sophie Hannah is writing Poirot’s cases and the crime genre as a whole is returning to the type of story Christie helped popularize. The Guardian asks:
Why does crime’s golden era continue to exert such a pull? Hannah says it’s largely down to our desire to be entertained.
“I think the resurgence in the popularity of golden age crime fiction is partly down to the fact that we do, at some level, like to have that satisfaction of having a story told to us in a very overtly story-like way,” she says. “Inherent in golden age crime writing is the message: ‘This is a great story and you will have fun reading it’.”
Martin Edwards follows his nose from one clue to another within The Detection Club, a London dinner society of British detective fiction writers such as Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and R. Austin Freeman.
Edwards crams many facts into this work, but his primary goal is “to refute the charge of ‘cozy’ that has hung over the Golden Age writers since a rebellious Englishman named Raymond Chandler moved to California and took to the pages of the Atlantic Monthly to denounce the whole project of British detective fiction in a famous 1944 essay called ‘The Simple Art of Murder.'”
Joseph Bottum concludes, “Of course, the actual argument of The Golden Age of Murder is almost beside the point. The book is too enjoyable, too enthusiastic, to live or die by the success of its thesis.” (via Prufrock)