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100 Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction

100 Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction

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Sections

  • Margery Allingham
  • Eric Ambler
  • Honoré de Balzac
  • E. C. Bentley
  • Anthony Berkeley
  • Earl Derr Biggers
  • Robert Bloch
  • Lawrence Block
  • Anthony Boucher
  • Christianna Brand
  • John Buchan
  • W. R. Burnett
  • James M. Cain
  • John Dickson Carr
  • Nick Carter
  • Vera Caspary
  • Raymond Chandler
  • Leslie Charteris
  • James Hadley Chase
  • G. K. Chesterton
  • Erskine Childers
  • Agatha Christie
  • Wilkie Collins
  • John Creasey
  • Amanda Cross
  • Len Deighton
  • Fyodor Dostoevski
  • Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Daphne du Maurier
  • Mignon G. Eberhart
  • Stanley Ellin
  • Robert L. Fish
  • Ian Fleming
  • Frederick Forsyth
  • Dick Francis
  • Nicolas Freeling
  • R. Austin Freeman
  • Erle Stanley Gardner
  • Michael Gilbert
  • Graham Greene
  • Martha Grimes
  • Dashiell Hammett
  • O. Henry
  • Patricia Highsmith
  • Tony Hillerman
  • Chester Himes
  • Edward D. Hoch
  • E. W. Hornung
  • E. W.Hornung
  • Michael Innes
  • P. D. James
  • Harry Kemelman
  • Baynard H. Kendrick
  • John le Carré
  • Elmore Leonard
  • Gaston Leroux
  • Richard Lockridge and Frances Lockridge
  • Richard Lockridge and Frances Lockridge
  • Marie Belloc Lowndes
  • Robert Ludlum
  • Ed McBain
  • James McClure
  • John D. MacDonald
  • Ross Macdonald
  • William P. McGivern
  • Helen MacInnes
  • Ngaio Marsh
  • Margaret Millar
  • E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • Baroness Orczy
  • Sara Paretsky
  • Robert B. Parker
  • Elizabeth Peters
  • Ellis Peters
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Bill Pronzini
  • Ellery Queen
  • Ruth Rendell
  • Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Lawrence Sanders
  • Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Georges Simenon
  • Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö
  • Martin Cruz Smith
  • Mickey Spillane
  • Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Mary Stewart
  • Rex Stout
  • Julian Symons
  • Josephine Tey
  • Ross Thomas
  • Jim Thompson
  • Lawrence Treat
  • S. S. Van Dine
  • Robert H. Van Gulik
  • Edgar Wallace
  • Joseph Wambaugh
  • Hillary Waugh
  • Patricia Wentworth
  • Donald E. Westlake
  • Cornell Woolrich
  • Israel Zangwill
  • GLOSSARY
  • Time Line of Authors
  • Index of Series Characters
  • List of Authors by Plot Type

100Masters of
Mystery and
Detective Fiction

This Page Intentionally Left Blank

100Masters of
Mystery and
Detective Fiction

Volume 1

Margery Allingham — Harry Kemelman
1 – 374

edited by

Fiona Kelleghan

University of Miami

SALEM PRESS, INC.

Pasadena, California

Hackensack, New Jersey

MAGILL’S C H O I C E

Copyright © 2001, bySalem Press, Inc.
Allrightsinthisbookarereserved.Nopartofthisworkmay
be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever or transmit-
ted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, in-
cludingphotocopy,recording,oranyinformationstorageand
retrieval system, without written permission from the copy-
rightownerexceptinthecaseofbriefquotationsembodiedin
critical articles and reviews. For information address the pub-
lisher, Salem Press, Inc., P.O. Box 50062, Pasadena, California
91115.

Essays originally appeared in Critical Survey of Mystery and Detec-
tive Fiction, 1988; new material has been added

∞ ThepaperusedinthesevolumesconformstotheAmerican
National Standard for Permanence of Paper for Printed Li-
brary Materials, Z39.48-1992 (R1997).

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

100 masters of mystery and detective fiction / edited by Fiona
Kelleghan.

p. cm. — (Magill’s choice)
Essays taken from Salem Press’s Critical survey of mystery
and detective fiction, published in 1988.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents: v. 1. Margery Allingham—Harry Kemelman —
v. 2. Baynard H. Kendrick—Israel Zangwill.
ISBN 0-89356-958-5 (set : alk. paper) — ISBN 0-89356-973-9
(v. 1 : alk. paper) — ISBN 0-89356-977-1 (v. 2 : alk. paper)
1. Detective and mystery stories—History and criticism.
2. Detective and mystery stories—Bio-bibliography. 3. Detec-
tive and mystery stories—Stories, plots, etc. I. Title: One hun-
dred masters of mystery and detective fiction. II. Kelleghan,
Fiona, 1965 - . III. Critical survey of mystery and detective
fiction. IV. Series.

PN3448.D4 A16 2001
809.3′872—dc21

2001032834

First Printing

printed in the united states of america

Contents — Volume 1

Publisher’s Note. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii
List of Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiii

Margery Allingham. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Eric Ambler. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Honoré de Balzac . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
E. C. Bentley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Anthony Berkeley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Earl Derr Biggers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Robert Bloch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Lawrence Block . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Anthony Boucher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Christianna Brand. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
John Buchan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
W. R. Burnett . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75

James M. Cain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
John Dickson Carr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
Nick Carter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
Vera Caspary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
Raymond Chandler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Leslie Charteris. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
James Hadley Chase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
G. K. Chesterton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
Erskine Childers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
Agatha Christie. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
Wilkie Collins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
John Creasey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
Amanda Cross . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183

Len Deighton. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Fyodor Dostoevski . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
Arthur Conan Doyle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
Daphne du Maurier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217

Mignon G. Eberhart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
Stanley Ellin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230

v

Robert L. Fish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
Ian Fleming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241
Frederick Forsyth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 248
Dick Francis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253
Nicolas Freeling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258
R. Austin Freeman. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264

Erle Stanley Gardner. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271
Michael Gilbert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Graham Greene . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287
Martha Grimes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294

Dashiell Hammett . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301
O. Henry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 310
Patricia Highsmith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318
Tony Hillerman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 326
Chester Himes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 333
Edward D. Hoch. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340
E. W. Hornung . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347

Michael Innes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 353

P. D. James. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 359

Harry Kemelman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 367

100Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction

vi

Publisher’s Note

100 Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction is a response to the growing attention paid
to genre fiction in schools and universities. Since Edgar Allan Poe invented the mod-
ern mystery genre in the mid-nineteenth century, the number of authors writing in this
field has steadily grown, as have the appetites of growing numbers of readers. As the
set’s Editor, Fiona Kelleghan, explains in her introduction, the mystery/detective
genre saw a gelling of forms and conventions during the 1930’s and 1940’s. During this
so-called Golden Age, writers examined and refined the genre’s conception, con-
sciously setting the limits and creating a philosophy by which to define the genre. The
latter half of the twentieth century saw an explosion in the number of books in the
genre, and it was accompanied by a proliferation of subgenres and styles. At the begin-
ning of the twenty-first century, mystery and detective fiction arguably ranked as the
most popular genre of fiction in the United States.
The essays in 100 Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction are taken from Salem Press’s
Critical Survey of Mystery and Detective Fiction, which was published in 1988. That
four-volume reference work covered more than 270 noteworthy authors from around
the world. With the help of the Fiona Kelleghan, the editors of Salem Press have se-
lected the one hundred writers who have had the greatest ongoing impact on the field.
All these writers are known primarily for their work in the genre, and most of them
have made signal contributions to the field. Articles on living authors have been
brought up to date, as have the secondary bibliographies for all the essays.
Articles in this set range in length from 2,500 to 6,000 words, with the longest ar-
ticles on such major figures as Raymond Chandler, Ellery Queen, and Georges
Simenon. Like the origial Critical Survey volumes, this set is organized in a format
designed to provide quick access to information. Handy ready-reference listings
are designed to accommodate the unique characteristics of the mystery/detective
genre. Ready-reference data at the top of each article include the author’s name, birth
and death information, pseudonyms, and types of plot. The author’s principal series
are listed, and descriptions of the principal series characters are provided, where rele-
vant.

The section headed “Contribution” evaluates each author’s impact on the genre.
The “Biography” section offers a concise overview of the author’s life, and the “Analy-
sis” section, the core of each article, examines the author’s most representative works
and principal concerns in the genre and studies the author’s unique contribution.
A comprehensive primary bibliography at the end of the article lists the author’s
mystery/detective works chronologically by series and lists nonmystery works by the
author chronologically by genre. Titles are given in the languages in which the works
originally appeared. Titles of English-language versions follow for the works that have
been translated.

A select secondary bibliography provides essential and accessible references for
additional study. Each article is signed by its original contributor and, in many cases,
the contributor who updated it.
Appendices at the end of the second volume include a time line of authors, ar-
ranged by their dates of birth; a list of plot types; and an index of series characters.

vii

There is also a comprehensive glossary, which defines more than four hundred terms
that frequently appear in mystery/detective fiction.
As always, we would like to express our thanks to the many contributors whose fine
essays make this reference set possible. We would particularly like to thank Fiona
Kelleghan for overseeing the complex work of updating the articles. The names of all
contributors,alongwiththeiraffiliations,arelistedatthebeginningofthefirstvolume.

100Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction

viii

List of Contributors

Michael Adams

Graduate Center, City University of
New York

Patrick Adcock

Henderson State University

Dorothy B. Aspinwall

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Bryan Aubrey

Independent Scholar

James Baird

University of North Texas

Taryn Benbow-Pfalzgraf

Independent Scholar

Richard P. Benton

Trinity College, Connecticut

Robert L. Berner

University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh

Cynthia A. Bily

Adrian College

Zohara Boyd

Appalachian State University

J. R. Broadus

University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill

William S. Brockington, Jr.

University of South Carolina at Aiken

Roland E. Bush

California State University, Long Beach

Rebecca R. Butler

Dalton Junior College

John J. Conlon

University of Massachusetts, Boston

Deborah Core

Eastern Kentucky University

Laura Dabundo

Kennesaw College

Dale Davis

Northwest Mississippi Community College

Bill Delaney

Independent Scholar

Jill Dolan

University of Wisconsin at Madison

Michael Dunne

Middle Tennessee State University

Paul F. Erwin

University of Cincinnati

Ann D. Garbett

Averett College

C. A. Gardner

Independent Scholar

Jill B. Gidmark

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Campus

David Gordon

Bowling Green State University

Douglas G. Greene

Old Dominion University

Terry Heller

Coe College

Pierre L. Horn

Wright State University

Barbara Horwitz

C. W. Post Campus, Long Island
University

E. D. Huntley

Appalachian State University

Shakuntala Jayaswal

University of New Haven

ix

Chandice M. Johnson, Jr.

North Dakota State University

Cynthia Lee Katona

Ohlone College

Richard Keenan

University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

Fiona Kelleghan

University of Miami

Richard Kelly

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Sue Laslie Kimball

Methodist College

Wm. Laird Kleine-Ahlbrandt

Purdue University

Henry Kratz

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Marilynn M. Larew

University of Maryland

Michael J. Larsen

Saint Mary’s University

Eugene S. Larson

Los Angeles Pierce College

Elizabeth Johnston Lipscomb

Randolph-Macon Woman’s College

Janet E. Lorenz

Independent Scholar

Michael Loudon

Eastern Illinois University

Janet McCann

Texas A&M University

Alice MacDonald

University of Akron

Gina Macdonald

Tulane University

Kathryne S. McDorman

Texas Christian University

Victoria E. McLure

Texas Tech University

David W. Madden

California State University, Sacramento

Paul Madden

Hardin-Simmons University

Charles E. May

California State University,
Long Beach

Patrick Meanor

State University of New York College
at Oneonta

Sally Mitchell

Temple University

Marie Murphy

Loyola College

William Nelles

Northern Illinois University

Janet T. Palmer

North Carolina State University

Joseph R. Peden

Baruch College, City University of
New York

William E. Pemberton

University of Wisconsin at La Crosse

Michael Pettengell

Bowling Green State University

Charles Pullen

Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada

Abe C. Ravitz

California State University,
Dominguez Hills

John D. Raymer

Indiana Vocational Technical College

Jessica Reisman

Independent Scholar

Rosemary M. Canfield-Reisman

Troy State University

Vicki K. Robinson

State University of New York,
Farmingdale

100Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction

x

Carl Rollyson

Baruch College, City University of
New York

Paul Rosefeldt

Our Lady of Holy Cross College

Jane Rosenbaum

Rider College

Joseph Rosenblum

University of North Carolina at
Greensboro

Mickey Rubenstien

Independent Scholar

Per Schelde

York College, City University of New York

Johanna M. Smith

University of Texas at Arlington

Ira Smolensky

Monmouth College

Marjorie Smolensky

Augustana College, Illinois

David Sundstrand

Assoc. of Literary Scholars & Critics

Charlene E. Suscavage

University of Southern Maine

Roy Arthur Swanson

University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

Eileen Tess Tyler

United States Naval Academy

Anne R. Vizzier

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Paul R. Waibel

Trinity College, Illinois

John Wilson

Independent Scholar

Malcolm Winton

Royal College of Art

Stephen Wood

University of George

Clifton K. Yearley

State University of New York at Buffalo

List of Contributors

xi

This Page Intentionally Left Blank

Introduction

All mysteries, from the English cozy to the courtroom drama to the international es-
pionage thriller, have one thing in common: They seek to locate and confine Evil.
Since its origins in the nineteenth century, the story of crime and detection has had a
single, fundamental impulse—to draw the reader into the realm of the unsafe, the ta-
boo, the worlds of physical threat and metaphysical unease.
The field of mystery fiction is conservative: It presents a situation of judicial, moral,
and even theological imbalance, and rights wrongs to restore a balance that will satisfy
the reader. Yet it is also progressive: It evolves to meet the fears and anxieties of its day.
Over the decades and centuries, mystery fiction has identified Good and Evil in many
shapes. The murderer and the blackmailer were preferred embodiments of Evil from
the beginning—never mind that most readers would not make the acquaintance of
such villains in their whole lifetimes—and soon after, the ambitions of the bank robber,
the gold digger, the frightener, the embezzler, and the traitor filled the pages of pulp
magazines. Late in the twentieth century, when such things could be presented,
grotesqueries such as child molestation and incest became crimes ranking almost
equal to murder—always the crime of choice—in the literature.
The English cozy, with its rural manors and little old ladies whose chitchat camou-
flages a shrewd cunning, remains as popular as in its heyday of the early twentieth cen-
tury, perhaps because it treats Evil as a curiosity, a local aberration which can be easily
contained. Typically, the cozy stars an amateur detective whose weapon is wit and who
finds clues in small domestic anomalies—in the inability to boil water properly for tea,
perhaps. For example, the works of Agatha Christie (1890-1976), Dorothy L. Sayers
(1893-1957), and Margery Allingham (1904-1966) reveal more about the society of
pre-World War II England than they do about the psychology of real criminals. The
villains pursued by Miss Marple or Albert Campion are mere opponents to be outwit-
ted in a mental game whose stakes may be life and death but are never terrifying.
The era of the cozy or classic mystery, in which crime was solved as an upper-class
pastime and class distinctions were always preserved, was in the years following the
end of World War I. In Europe, nostalgia always hovers over the proceedings, as
though harking back to the good old days when Sherlock Holmes kept the peace. The
1920’s and 1930’s have become known as the Golden Age because of this sense of de-
tection as a lark and because of the finite setting of the country house, the academic de-
partment, or the comfortable armchair, which reassured readers that real crime was
distant and easily thwarted.
In the United States, while Ellery Queen (originally the collaborating cousins Fred-
eric Dannay (1905-1982) and Manfred B. Lee (1905-1971)) and S. S. Van Dine (1888-
1939) continued this tradition, a new tone and color created new forms of the mystery
genre. The premier American detective fiction of the Golden Age was not nostalgic.
The weekly pulp magazine Black Mask (1920-1951) published “hard-boiled” mysteries,
whose policemen and private investigators were cynical, world-weary, wary of author-
ity, and all too conscious of the sour realities of the Great Depression and Prohibi-
tion. Sometimes hailed as the father of realistic crime fiction, Dashiell Hammett

xiii

(1894-1961) published his first story about the “Continental Op,” the quintessential
hard-boiled detective, in 1923. Hammett, who had worked for Pinkerton’s Detective
Agency until he became a writer, is best known for his private eye Sam Spade, forever
conflated with actor Humphrey Bogart in the hearts of movie viewers.
The hard-boiled novel is set in a large city, and its antihero’s methods resemble
those of the criminal as much as those of the policeman. The hard-boiled thriller finds
Evil less easy to contain because it is pervasive and increasingly difficult to identify.
The lone-vigilante protagonists of Hammett, Raymond Chandler (1888-1959), and
Chester Himes (1909-1984) know that Evil is everywhere, as often concealed behind
rouged lips and mascara as behind the ugly mug of a frightener. They rely on physical
agility and strength rather than the chess player’s mentality, and they take their battles,
like their booze and their women, one day at a time.
In 1945, as World War II ended, Mystery Writers of America was founded as a pro-
fessional organization seeking to celebrate, reward, and improve mystery writing. At
their first convention, they presented the Edgar Award for best of the (previous) year
fictionandnonfiction.Theaward,notsurprisingly,wasnamedafterEdgarAllanPoe.
For the cozy, villainy changed on the page after World War II. Allingham’s Cam-
pion and other foppish amateurs came to realize what the hard-boiled private eyes had
known all along—that the evil soul keeps its own extensive society. Evil and corruption
are contagions that begin increasingly to be identified and restrained by professionals,
rather than amateur sleuths, in the police procedural and the courtroom drama. These
subgenres eclipsed the popularity of hard-boiled fiction, with its increasingly formu-
laic action and mindless violence, after the war.
Spy fiction, meanwhile, had begun as early as 1903 with Erskine Childers’s The Rid-
dle of the Sands and continued with John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915), W.
Somerset Maugham’s Ashenden: Or, The British Agent (1928), and several late-1930’s and
early-1940’s classics by Eric Ambler and Graham Greene. These British authors
vaunted English qualities such as superior organization, a code of honor supported by
specialized training and talents, and a sense of responsibility for the maintenance of
civilized behavior everywhere. The international “Great Game” of espionage ex-
ploded into bestsellerdom in the 1950’s with hyperreal super-spies such as James
Bond, the invention of Ian Fleming (1908-1964). Bond’s enemies are cartoonish
enough that one feels justified in using the word nefarious, but the works of Robert
Ludlum (1927-2001), Len Deighton (1929- ), and John le Carré (1931- ) gar-
nered critical acclaim for realism to the spy genre. In the infancy of espionage fiction,
villains were usually French, German, or Russian. After the Berlin Wall was torn down
in 1989, Evil was often to be found in the guise of the smugglers or weapons merchants
of the Middle East, Northern Ireland, and South American dictatorships. Daily news
headlines testify that these regions of the globe are likely to supply writers with a
steady casting pool of villainy for some time to come. Advances in the sciences, from
biology to military hardware, meanwhile, have brought about the rise of the techno-
thriller, which reflects the late twentieth-century public’s fear of threats such as nuclear
bombs, bioterrorism, and a variety of stealth weaponry.
With crime fiction reigning, decade after decade, as the most popular of all fiction
genres, how does one choose a mere one hundred authors to be representative of the
best and brightest of the many, many categories of the mystery field?
With anguish and lots of crumpled lists.
Thecriteriausedwere,inthisorder,influence,quality,popularity,andprolificity.

100Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction

xiv

The key measure of influence was the question of whether the author had written a
landmark work in some category of mystery. For example, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-
1849) iscredited with having invented theamateurdetectivetale—and, in fact, themys-
tery story itself as it is now known.The Moonstone(1868), by Wilkie Collins (1824-1889),
is considered to be the first British detective novel. Israel Zangwill (1864-1926) wrote
the first novel-length locked-room mystery. Baroness Orczy (1865-1947) popularized
the armchair detective. Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958) invented the had-I-but-
known school of young women who stumble into peril—a subcategory of mystery fic-
tion now denigrated but still influential on the genre of romantic suspense. Christianna
Brand (1907-1988) pioneered the medical thriller. Lawrence Treat (1903-1998) wrote
the first police procedural. Many other examples of famous firsts can be found in these
pages. In the case of some authors, such as Zangwill and Childers, only a single work
secured their inclusion in this collection.
Quality was the most perilous criterion, because it is painfully subjective. However,
some authors will appear on anybody’s Most Important list. Undoubtedly the greatest
fictional detective is Sherlock Holmes, who needs no introduction. Created by Sir Ar-
thur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), Holmes and his hagiographer Dr. Watson starred in
four novels, fifty-six short stories, and countless film adaptations, from parody to hom-
age. Ranking perhaps just below Doyle in literary superiority are the triumvirate
hailed by both Anthony Boucher and Jon L. Breen, important editors and scholars in
the field, as the three great writers of the classic detective novel: Agatha Christie
(1890-1976), John Dickson Carr (1906-1977), and Ellery Queen. All three improved
what was, before their time, a highly sensational and frequently lowbrow form of liter-
ature. Later authors who inarguably increased the prestige of the field include Eliza-
beth Peters (1927- ), P. D. James (1920- ), Tony Hillerman (1925- ), and
Ruth Rendell (1930- ), all of whom have been named Grand Masters by the Mys-
tery Writers of America.
Popularity is a criterion with an easily readable yardstick: the bestseller lists. As
early as 1878, Anna Katherine Greene’s first novel, The Leavenworth Case, became the
first American bestseller in any genre, selling more than a quarter of a million copies, a
very respectable figure for the nineteenth century. More than a century later, the
weekly charts still show mystery, suspense, espionage, and crime fiction ranking near
the top of both the paperback and the overall bestseller lists, usually selling in the
several millions of copies. Conan Doyle continues to be a bestseller. So, in their time,
have been Mary Roberts Rinehart, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond
Chandler, Eric Ambler (1909-1998), Graham Greene (1904-1991), Mickey Spillane
(1918- ), Ian Fleming and John le Carré, whose 1963 The Spy Who Came in from the
Cold alone sold more than two million paperbacks, a remarkable figure for its time.
Mysteries have shown no inclination to grant their position as the largest-selling genre
in the United States and Western Europe to any other category of fiction.
Finally, prolificity was chosen as a criterion as a sign of literary stamina. Nick
Carter,forexample,hasappearedinmoredetectivefictionthananyothercharacterin
American literature and, even before Ellery Queen, had his own magazine (which
changed its name frequently in the decades following 1891, the year that saw the
birth of the weekly Nick Carter Library). Beginning in 1886, hundreds of Carter
novels were written by dozens of authors for more than a century. As this is written,
Nick Carter has come to be considered a sort of poor man’s James Bond—racist, sexist,
and generally politically incorrect in his attitudes and methods. Edward D. Hoch, on

Introduction

xv

the other hand, is considered one of the finest writers of the classic mystery; he has
been incredibly prolific in the short-story form, with nearly one thousand magazine
publications to his credit. Georges Simenon (1903-1989), creator of the popular Chief
Inspector Jules Maigret, wrote over one thousand short stories in the space of a few
years; and authored not only sixty-seven Maigret novels but hundreds of other novels.
Christie, Carr, and Queen are as famous for their prolificity as for their narrative tal-
ents, and nearly every writer listed in these pages wrote or continues to write at least
one novel a year. Popular writers such as Ed McBain (1926- ), Donald E. Westlake
(1933- ), and Bill Pronzini (1943- ) turn out so many works annually that they
resort to multiple pseudonyms so as not to weary the public.
100 Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction attempts to be both wide-ranging and
in-depth. However, it also serves as a snapshot of a hundred admirable men and
women of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as they broke ground in a field that
grows larger with each passing year. Detectives and spies, amateurs and private eyes
are becoming increasingly diverse in personality traits and backgrounds. The fe-
male detective, once rare, is a thriving species, and she is joined by American Indians,
African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, homosexuals, and those with physical
disabilities. The sleuth at home may be an art historian, a wine connoisseur, or a stee-
plechase jockey. This diversity represents more than a marketing gimmick; it has con-
tributed pleasing dimensions of characterization not found in early mysteries. The
term detective fiction may define a special sort of book, but no longer does it dictate its
contents or characters.
As Evil in the mystery continues to adapt, so will those who fight it. A perfect crime,
after all, is a terrible thing to waste. The criminals and the sleuths, like John Keats’s lov-
ers on the Grecian urn, promise to remain forever warm and still to be enjoyed, for-
ever panting, and forever young.

Fiona Kelleghan
University of Miami

100Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction

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Detective Fiction

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100Masters of
Mystery and
Detective Fiction

Volume 2

Baynard H. Kendrick — Israel Zangwill
375 – 757
Appendices

edited by

Fiona Kelleghan

University of Miami

SALEM PRESS, INC.

Pasadena, California

Hackensack, New Jersey

MAGILL’S C H O I C E

Copyright © 2001, bySalem Press, Inc.
Allrightsinthisbookarereserved.Nopartofthisworkmay
be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever or transmit-
ted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, in-
cludingphotocopy,recording,oranyinformationstorageand
retrieval system, without written permission from the copy-
rightownerexceptinthecaseofbriefquotationsembodiedin
critical articles and reviews. For information address the pub-
lisher, Salem Press, Inc., P.O. Box 50062, Pasadena, California
91115.

Essays originally appeared in Critical Survey of Mystery and Detec-
tive Fiction, 1988; new material has been added

∞ ThepaperusedinthesevolumesconformstotheAmerican
National Standard for Permanence of Paper for Printed Li-
brary Materials, Z39.48-1992 (R1997).

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

100 masters of mystery and detective fiction / edited by Fiona
Kelleghan.

p. cm. — (Magill’s choice)
Essays taken from Salem Press’s Critical survey of mystery
and detective fiction, published in 1988.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents: v. 1. Margery Allingham—Harry Kemelman —
v. 2. Baynard H. Kendrick—Israel Zangwill.
ISBN 0-89356-958-5 (set : alk. paper) — ISBN 0-89356-973-9
(v. 1 : alk. paper) — ISBN 0-89356-977-1 (v. 2 : alk. paper)
1. Detective and mystery stories—History and criticism.
2. Detective and mystery stories—Bio-bibliography. 3. Detec-
tive and mystery stories—Stories, plots, etc. I. Title: One hun-
dred masters of mystery and detective fiction. II. Kelleghan,
Fiona, 1965 - . III. Critical survey of mystery and detective
fiction. IV. Series.

PN3448.D4 A16 2001
809.3′872—dc21

2001032834

First Printing

printed in the united states of america

Contents — Volume 2

Baynard H. Kendrick . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375

John le Carré. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 381
Elmore Leonard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390
Gaston Leroux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 396
Richard Lockridge and Frances Lockridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 403
Marie Belloc Lowndes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 410
Robert Ludlum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 417

Ed McBain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 424
James McClure. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 431
John D. MacDonald . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 437
Ross Macdonald . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 443
William P. McGivern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 449
Helen MacInnes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 455
Ngaio Marsh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 460
Margaret Millar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 467

E. Phillips Oppenheim. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
Baroness Orczy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 480

Sara Paretsky. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 487
Robert B. Parker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 494
Elizabeth Peters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 502
Ellis Peters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 511
Edgar Allan Poe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 519
Bill Pronzini . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 527

Ellery Queen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 537

Ruth Rendell. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 546
Mary Roberts Rinehart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 553

Lawrence Sanders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 561
Dorothy L. Sayers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 569
Georges Simenon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 579
Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 593
Martin Cruz Smith. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 601
Mickey Spillane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 608

xxiii

Robert Louis Stevenson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 615
Mary Stewart. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 621
Rex Stout. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 627
Julian Symons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 635

Josephine Tey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 644
Ross Thomas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 650
Jim Thompson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 657
Lawrence Treat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 663

S. S. Van Dine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 670
Robert H. Van Gulik. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 677

Edgar Wallace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 684
Joseph Wambaugh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 692
Hillary Waugh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 700
Patricia Wentworth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 706
Donald E. Westlake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 712
Cornell Woolrich. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 721

Israel Zangwill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 728

Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 733
Time Line of Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 747
Index of Series Characters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 751
List of Authors by Plot Type. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 755

100Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction

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