Episode 33: The Golden Age of Crime Writing

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Diamond Dagger award-winning crime novelist and president of the Detection Club Martin Edwards and Richard Reynolds, crime buyer for Heffers Bookshop and member of the Crime Writers’ Association, lead our investigation in this month’s literary podcast. Together with the Slightly Foxed team, they take a magnifying glass to the Golden Age of crime fiction, tracing its origins to the interwar years when the Detection Club was founded and discussing why the genre continues to thrill.

From relishing The Poisoned Chocolates Case and resurrecting Death of a Bookseller to the mystery of E. C. R. Lorac’s missing manuscript and meeting Baroness Orczy’s Teahouse Detective, the plot twists and turns as we collect British Library Crime Classics and celebrate Crime Queens Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, Josephine Tey and others along the way. Whether enjoyed as well-crafted puzzles, social documents or guilty pleasures, detective fiction is laced with nostalgia as well as cyanide. To tie up loose ends, we finish with a visit to Agatha Christie’s holiday home, Greenway, a house fit for Hercule Poirot, and the setting of a Devonshire murder hunt in Dead Man’s Folly.


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Show Notes

Please find links to books, articles, and further reading listed below. The digits in brackets following each listing refer to the minute and second they are mentioned. (Episode duration: 44 minutes; 56 seconds)

Books Mentioned

We may be able to get hold of second-hand copies of the out-of-print titles listed below. Please get in touch with Jess in the Slightly Foxed office for more information.

Mortmain Hall and The Crooked Shore, Martin Edwards

The Murder at the Vicarage, Agatha Christie (3.57)

The Nine Tailors, Dorothy L. Sayers. (4.29)

The Red House Mystery, A. A. Milne (9.31)

The Old Man in the Corner, Baroness Orczy (10.34)

A Question of Proof, Nicholas Blake (12:09)

The Cask, Freeman Wills Crofts (14.02)

Lord Peter Wimsey, Dorothy L. Sayers (15:00)

Cards on the Table, Agatha Christie (15.39)

– Francis Vivian’s Inspector Knollis Mysteries, published by Dean Street Press (15:58)

Tragedy at Law, Cyril Hare (16:53)

Thrones, Dominations, Dorothy L. Sayers and Jill Paton Walsh (18.03)

– Anthony Gilbert’s Arthur Crook novels (19.09)

Portrait of a Murderer, Anne Meredith (19.38)

Bloodshed in Bayswater, John Rowland is out of print (21.38)

Death of a Bookseller, Bernard J. Farmer is due to be published in a British Library Crime Classics edition in 2022 (21:41)

A Surprise for Christmas and Other Seasonal Mysteries and Murder at the Manor: Country House Mysteries, Ed. Martin Edwards (22:35)

Two-Way Murder, E. C. L. Lorac (33.40)

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie (35.15)

Verdict of Twelve, Raymond Postgate (35.25)

And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie (35.57)

Arrest the Bishop, Winifred Peck, published by Dean Street Press (37.56)

The Poisoned Chocolates Case, Anthony Berkeley (38.42)

The Dry, Jane Harper (40.05)

Agatha Christie: A Biography, Janet Morgan (41.03)

Related Slightly Foxed Articles

Murder Most Civilized, Emma Hogan on Agatha Christie, the Miss Marple books, Issue 17

Vane Hopes, Victoria Neumark on the novels of Dorothy L. Sayers, Issue 32

Hauntings, Michèle Roberts on Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night, Issue 63

A Gentleman on the Case, Brandon Robshaw on Margery Allingham, the Albert Campion novels, Issue 52

The Judge’s Progress, P. D. James on Cyril Hare, Tragedy at Law, Issue 12

Lost in the Fens, Julie Welch on the detective stories of Edmund Crispin, Issue 63

Other Links

British Library Crime Classics (22:36)

Dean Street Press (30:40)

Download Heffers Crime Fiction Top 100, selected by Richard Reynolds. NB The file will download automatically on click. Please check your downloads folder (35:12)

Agatha Christie’s holiday home, Greenway, in Devon (42:37)

Opening music: Preludio from Violin Partita No.3 in E Major by Bach

The Slightly Foxed Podcast is hosted by Philippa Lamb and produced by Podcastable


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Comments & Reviews

  1. Margaret Taylor says:

    What a great podcast! So many interesting recommendations. I love hearing about less well known authors, lists and out of print books. This will destroy my budget and where will I put the books? Lovely to hear of an Australian suggestion. Thank you for this 🙂

  2. Steven Hersey says:

    Excellent edition, full of facts and enticements for further reading. A genre that I have enjoyed for many years. Of personal interest is the fact that I listened to Mr Edwards (excellent) at a crime writers weekend event a few years ago at Hawarden Hall, and that like he and Mr Reynolds I am a Cheshire man, also from Macclesfield. Super podcast. Loved the dogs in the background too . . .

  3. Nish HR says:

    Such fun! I so enjoyed this podcast, all about one of my favorite literary genres, and chock-full of reading recommendations! Thank you so much!

  4. Jenny Broe says:

    Thank you for such an interesting session.
    What a wonderful trip into my early years of reading detective fiction. So pleasing to hear that a number I haven’t read are being republished.
    Just a plug if I’m allowed. Those who enjoyed ‘The Dry’ might well like ‘Scrublands’ by Chris Hamer

  5. Lorna Raynes says:

    As always the 33rd podcast was excellent listening and full of marvellous suggestions. I have already ordered two of the titles from you and was almost at a loss to decide which to choose! I really enjoy these monthly podcasts, thank you.

  6. Sal Shuel says:

    As fascinating as ever but this was different because I had read nearly everything. Usually I feel stupid but not this time. I clearly need to have another visit to the British Library Shop. I remember last time coming home with a serious number of books. Thank you all.

  7. Alan Reynolds says:

    Absolutely fascinating overview of the subject thanks to the excellent participants. I’ve very much enjoyed many of the British Library Crime Classics; they have re-opened these ‘lost books’ to great effect. Well worth exploring the selections suggested.

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