Crime fiction/True Crime

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Re: Crime fiction/True Crime

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:45 pm


John Rebus
Ian Rankin
The Americans have heroes or antiheroes. Here, we have something in between in both Rebus and Morse, who share a human middle ground where they can’t quite decide whether they want to be hero or antihero. But both are sleuths – more so than Poirot and Marple, who always failed to resonate for me, mainly because those things didn’t even come close to happening. Rankin’s Edinburgh is as true as it gets. Jack Rebus sits in the Oxford Bar, trying to be Scottishly unbotherable and unbothered and suddenly gets the connection. Black and Blue is his finest. Photograph: ITV

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Re: Crime fiction/True Crime

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:49 pm


William of Baskerville
Umberto Eco
Brother William, as portrayed by Sean Connery in the (fabulous) film adaptation of The Name of the Rose, is perhaps the luckiest of our sleuths. He gets to solve one of the most ancient mysteries of all – the mystery of laughter. Eco has brought us not just the idea of a dedicated monkish sleuth, but the idea of a high private library, in a private high tower, from which the last investigator had been thrown. The sleuthing – this is not about men with guns, but men with brains – revolves around ancient texts, and men with a hatred of laughter, and is as intriguing as it gets. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext Collection/Sportsphoto/Allstar/Cinetext Collection

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Re: Crime fiction/True Crime

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:53 pm


Chief Inspector Hubbard
Frederick Knott
Dial M for Murder, the film adaptation of Knott’s stage play, is Hitchcock’s finest. Hubbard is played by John Williams in a cast that mainly features Ray Milland and Grace Kelly. Milland plots to murder his wife for her inheritance, but then his hired blackmailer burglar/murderer is killed. Milland smooths it all out, but Hubbard is several steps ahead. What follows is complicated, but involves Hubbard deducing where Milland will look for a second door key, based on what his hired dead blackmailer might have done and – ta-da! Sometimes you just yearn for Hitchcock and Knott still to be alive. Photograph: Public Domain

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Re: Crime fiction/True Crime

Post  pinhedz on Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:17 am

eddie wrote:The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: feminist, or not?

In her review in Harper's Bazaar this month, Mariella Frostrup writes: "A potentially good mystery is lost in scenes – such as a violent rape – that dwell too much on what feels to me like Larsson's misogynistic fantasies." On the Arts Desk blog, Graham Fuller judges the film "scarcely feminist". He writes: "In frankly depicting Lisbeth's rapes and presenting an obscene array of photographs of murdered women in a killer's lair, it comes across as glibly indulgent of those visual horrors."

In the novel Larsson spares us many graphic descriptions, leaving a lot of the worst to our imagination. It seems, then, that the film has betrayed not only some of the book's original subtlety but also its feminism. I waited too long to read the book. I think I'll give
I have a hard time imagining how anyone seeing the film could not see it as feminist.

And I wonder if really makes sense to pay attention to the views of film critics, who probably stopped liking going to the movies long ago, because they have to spend the entire movie fretting about how they're going to come up with 300 words in time for their deadline.

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Re: Crime fiction/True Crime

Post  eddie on Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:49 am

I don't know that I'm exactly 'enjoying' this, but the writing is brilliant. It's unnerving to find oneself on the side of a central character who is such a bastard:



‘A darkly funny and cleverly plotted tale of greed which will further Nesbo's reputation’
Mark Lawson - BBC Radio 4

‘Headhunters is a stand-alone thriller, but just as well executed as his regular police procedurals...Written in the Norwegian author's typical no-nonsense prose, and plotted with precision to create a relentless and breakneck tale that keeps the reader hungrily turning the pages for more.’
Doug Johnstone - Big Issue

‘He keeps the twists and shocks coming hard and fast before dumping us, breathless, into a head-scratchingly neat conclusion... an intriguing foray into the mind of a man you'd hope never to meet’ Siobhan Murphy - Metro

‘This book is one you absolutely have to read... The outrageous storytelling is so stimulating, it makes James Ellroy look like a boy scout and Bret Easton Ellis like a sunday school boy’
Helsingin Sanomat (Finland)

‘The reader is glued to the pages like gum to the street.... Nesbo has accomplished an easily digested, but nevertheless brilliant and elegant thriller’
Dagsavisen (Norway)

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Re: Crime fiction/True Crime

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:39 am

First ever crime writing MA launched

London's City University says creation of course is in response to student demand

Alison Flood

guardian.co.uk, Friday 27 January 2012 14.23 GMT


Den of crime writing ... City University in London. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

As the underworld steadily increases its grip on literary culture, City University in London is turning to crime, with the launch of an MA devoted to teaching crime fiction and thriller writing.

Launched in response to student demand, and to the growing popularity of the genre, the UK's first creative writing masters dedicated to crime and thriller novels is another harbinger of a "second golden age of crime writing".

The genre is the second biggest in the UK, according to official data, with sales of £87.6m in 2011, while debut thriller Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson topped the charts last week. The course will teach budding Agatha Christies and Ian Rankins everything from how to create suspense to new ways to tackle new crimes, thoroughly investigating all aspects of the genre, from police procedurals to psychological thrillers.

"Crime fiction is an increasingly popular genre. With writers like Tom Rob Smith and AD Miller appearing on Man Booker Prize long- and short-lists, the literary acceptance of the genre has never been higher," said programme director Jonathan Myerson, the novelist and playwright. "There is much talk that we are entering a second golden age of crime writing, though this time the country house has been replaced by the inner city estate. Social relevance is a major factor, as too is the quality and craftsmanship of the writing"

City already runs a masters on literary novels as part of its creative writing programme. Six years' worth of students have graduated, with six so far landing publishing deals. Tutors on the literary course include Sadie Jones, David Nicholls, Sarah Waters, Monica Ali, Naomi Alderman, Ronan Bennett, Sarah Hall, and Philip Hensher, and Myerson said he "would expect our tutors on the crime thriller MA to be of the same calibre". Authors are currently being approached, with the novelists Martyn Waites and Barry Forshaw already signed up.

"We take about 12 to 14 students each year on the literary course and would do about the same for the crime MA, and run them in parallel," said Myerson. "Both genres can learn from each other – literary novelists can learn an awful lot from the pacing of crime novels."

If the crime course takes off, Myerson said he would look at expanding the MA to include other genres. "We'll see how this goes, I think," he said. "Young adult would be the next market, though."

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Re: Crime fiction/True Crime

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:40 pm

Hooray! The new Jo Nesbo Harry Hole volume has just appeared. Here's The Independent's review:
*************************************************************************************************************


Phantom, By Jo Nesbo, trans. Don Bartlett

Barry Forshaw Friday 16 March 2012

At the New Zealand International Arts Festival, Jo Nesbo was asked how he felt about being called "the new Stieg Larsson". With characteristic wryness he replied: "It could have been worse - I could have been the new Dan Brown."

In fact, the Norwegian writer's success is beginning to rival both his late Swedish contemporary and the author of The Da Vinci Code. Apart from the fact that Nesbo is now (according to his publishers) selling one book every 23 seconds, Hollywood success beckons, as the film of Headhunters has had Mark Wahlberg hungry for the remake rights. Nesbo's The Snowman is shortly to be filmed by no less than Martin Scorsese.

After several books featuring his emotionally battered detective Harry Hole, which combined first-rate storytelling with mordant social commitment, Nesbo's days as a pop star seemed very remote. But The Snowman's successor The Leopard won less critical favour, moving into international blockbuster territory. Now, reassuringly, we have Harry back in Oslo, tackling a very personal case involving the son, Oleg, of his ex-partner Rakel.

Oleg is a youthful drug dealer who may have committed a murder, and Phantom has the author back on edgy, caustic form. We have seen Harry's fractious relationship with Rakel in earlier books, and his reconnection with her here is via her troubled son, who had regarded the detective as a surrogate father.

Substance-abusing Oleg has been accused of killing a fellow addict. The victim died in a squalid house that both shared, and forensic evidence points at Rakel's luckless son.

He has only one thing going for him – Harry Hole's customary reluctance to accept the obvious. As Harry plunges into the dangerous drug culture of the city, he discovers that a new synthetic drug "violin" is cutting a swathe through Oslo's addicts. The most pressing agenda for Harry becomes tracking down the ruthless drug lords behind a destructive trade.

Nesbo, as ever, is not interested in painting a tourist-friendly view of his country. He banishes cliché in this overworked genre - his recovering-alcoholic, shambolic, rule-breaking detective is somehow always surprising us.

Some readers may have problems with a device recently used by Swedish writer Mons Kallentoft – narrative passages delivered by a dead man – but any reservations are brushed aside by the sheer sweep of the characterisation on offer. The relationship between Harry and Rakel is truly multifaceted, and richer in nuance than anything else in the crime genre. Phantom will maintain Jo Nesbo's unstoppable momentum.

Barry Forshaw's 'Death in a Cold Climate' is published by Palgrave Macmillan


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Re: Crime fiction/True Crime

Post  eddie on Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:22 pm

Digested read: Phantom by Jo Nesbø

Harvill Secker, £16.99

John Crace

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 25 March 2012 18.15 BST


Illustration by Matt Blease for the Guardian.

Captain Tord Schultz sighed as he landed the plane. As the opening character in a thriller, he knew his only purpose was to die a slow, agonising death. Within 70 pages a brick studded with nails had ripped off half his face.


The Phantom
by Jo Nesbo

I'm a thief and a junkie. God help me, I've also prostituted my foster-sister, Irene. It was all going so well. Oleg and I were selling for Ibsen and Dubai, and then we got greedy and started doing the violin ourselves. Now they are coming for me.

Harry Hole ran his titanium finger along the scar that ran from his mouth to his ear. It had been three years since he'd been in Oslo, three years since he'd been kicked out of the police, three years since he'd been on the booze. Three years since he'd watched Spurs on TV. Every inch of his body ached with the excruciating pain of the maverick. He'd cornered The Leopard. Survived The Snowman. But this was worse. Much worse. This was personal. It was a Gooner. Flooding Oslo with a new opiate, violin, that was six times more powerful than heroin and being sold by dealers wearing Arsenal Fly Emirates shirts.

Then there was Rakel. The love of his life. The woman who would be better off without him. But he couldn't not come back for this. Oleg, her son, the boy he'd almost come to think of as his son, was in prison charged with murdering his dope-dealing associate, Gusto. "He didn't do it," Rakel had said. "You're the only one who can help him."

As the new head of Kripos, Mikael Bellman didn't mind if the readers were unsure he was a bent cop. It added to the tension and as the most handsome man in Norway, he was used to people mistrusting him. Besides, he had a date with Isabelle Skøyen, the femme fatale of the council, who had helped clean up the city's drug problem. Truls Bernsten was really ugly, so there were no doubts he was a burner, the cop who tidied away Dubai's inconvenient evidence. Still accidentally putting a drill through a dealer's skull had been a little much, even for him.

I should have kept my mouth shut. But writing in a different font and from the past is a great way of filling in the back story. I was doing OK just selling smack for Dubai. Then Ibsen came along with the violin. He grassed all the other dealers to his contact in the council. Oslo was ours.

Sergei had never been convinced he had what it took to be Dubai's hitman. And as Harry withdrew the corkscrew from his oesophagus and he took his last three breaths he was certain of it. Harry gasped. He recognised it was some achievement to be the undisputed top dog of Scanda-crime noir, but it was taking it out of him. Sure, he had stopped a prisoner killing Oleg, had got the boy released, had closed down Oslo's power supply, had dug up Gusto's grave, killed a small army of Dubai's goons, unmasked the true identities of Ibsen and Dubai, rescued Irene, almost drowned in a Nazi escape tunnel, fallen off a horse into a ravine and turned down a shag with Isabelle even after she had flashed her shaven pussy (nice detail) but it had taken half a bottle of Jim Beam to do it all.

"I love you, Harry," said Rackel. "And I will marry you even though you are clearly deranged."

Harry switched off his stolen phone. He had waited years to hear those words. But he had to do what was right. And what was right would mean she would have to marry her dull solicitor. He drove to the final showdown. "It was you all along," he said. Two bullets ripped into him and Harry could feel the rats gnawing at the open wounds. "Is this it?" he wondered. He checked Nesbø's contract and smiled. Almost certainly not.

Digested read, digested: Harry's Black Hole.

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Re: Crime fiction/True Crime

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:53 pm

The Penge Mystery: the murder of Harriet Staunton

In 1877, Harriet Staunton's husband and three others were accused of starving her to death and lurid newspaper reports of the Penge murder trial held the nation's rapt attention. A bestselling novel about the affair – written in 1934 and now republished – proves as gripping today

Rachel Cooke

The Observer, Sunday 15 April 2012


The only photograph of Harriet Staunton, taken on her engagement in 1876.

Only one photograph is known to exist of Harriet Staunton, nee Richardson: it was taken to mark the occasion of her engagement at the age of 33 to a hard-up auctioneer's clerk, Louis Staunton, in 1874. At first glance, she looks like any other woman of her class. Her dress is modestly high-necked; her toque, worn stylishly forward, is lavishly trimmed; her hair, drawn back to reveal the ears, ends in a confection of coiled plaits (these would have been made of "false" hair, which remained fashionable until the Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine sounded its death knell in 1876). Examine the image more closely, though, and instinct suggests that all is not as it seems. The woman's eyelids are heavy and drooping; her smile, stretched like soft leather over bony knuckles, is more grimace than grin. The impression is of a woman who, being not entirely sensible of the world, is only playing the part of excited bride-to-be.

The facts back up one's instincts. Harriet Staunton had what we would call learning difficulties: her ladylike appearance was the result of dogged coaching by her mother, Mrs Butterfield, who had always made sure her daughter was clean and well turned out, with the result that, in time, Harriet grew to be rather particular about her appearance. Happily, both women could afford to be sartorially indulgent. Harriet's other advantage in life, besides her devoted and forward-thinking parent, was a legacy of £5,000 (about £500,000 today), courtesy of a great aunt. Though prone to rages and queer moods, Harriet was not confined to home. She loved to make shopping trips, on one of which she must have bought her pretty hat. She also made regular visits to relatives, who sometimes received money for taking care of her, giving her mother a little respite – and it was during one of these, in 1873, that she met Louis Staunton. Thomas Hincksman, the son of Harriet's aunt, Mrs Ellis, had married a widow, and in doing so had gained two stepdaughters: Elizabeth, 23, and Alice, 15. Elizabeth had recently married an artist, Patrick Staunton; his elder brother, to whom Patrick was passionately devoted, was 23-year-old Louis.

Louis was at this point already deeply in love with his brother's sister-in-law, Alice Rhodes. But he was also a ruthless fortune hunter and, after only the briefest of courtships, he and Harriet were engaged. Naturally, Mrs Butterfield, who had never expected to see her daughter the object of any man's desire, was suspicious. But her opposition to the match – at one point, she tried to place her daughter under the protection of the court of chancery as a lunatic – did no good. Harriet, enraged, left her mother's house to live with Mrs Ellis in Walworth, south London, and it was from there that she was married, on 16 June 1875.

Eager not to lose touch with Harriet, Mrs Butterfield, who did not attend the wedding, called at a house the couple had taken in Brixton three weeks later. This meeting was, she reported afterwards, civil. Soon after, however, she received a letter from Harriet in which she wrote that "her husband objected to my calling upon her, and she thought I had better not come, to prevent any disturbance between them". She also received a note from Louis: he would not have her in the house again. The next time Mrs Butterfield saw her daughter, in April 1877, she was in her coffin. Like the baby to which she had given birth only months before, Harriet had apparently starved to death while her new relatives – having smoothly banked her cash – looked coolly on.

I first heard the story of Harriet Staunton and her terrible end last summer, when I was asked to write an afterword to a new edition of a novel, long out of print, by Elizabeth Jenkins. I had only to read a few chapters to see why it deserved to be republished, and the Staunton name made infamous all over again. What a tale. Jenkins's imaginative retelling of the case is as gripping as anything I've ever read. And as horrifying. In an upstairs bedroom at the isolated Kent cottage where Harriet is effectively kept prisoner, the Stauntons' bewildered victim emits desperate animal cries, and scratches feverishly at her lice-infested skin (without her mother to help, Harriet soon loses control of her personal hygiene). Meanwhile, her new "family" carries on as normal, lazing by the fire, eating veal chops and batter puddings. Beside this spare volume, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Kate Summerscale's bestselling account of another notorious Victorian murder, starts to seem rather wordy and dry.

Jenkins, who died in 2010, is best known for her 1954 novel, The Tortoise and the Hare, about the end of a marriage. But she had a lifelong fascination with the criminal mind, and felt that her best books were grounded in fact. The Penge Mystery, as it was known, was a famous case, not only because the details were so horrible – the newspapers of the day were replete with haunting illustrations of Harriet's last hours – but also because the trial helped to hasten the establishment of a functioning court of appeal. Jenkins, though, only learned of its full horror much later, when her brother, David, a solicitor, lent her a copy of The Trial of the Stauntons, a volume in the popular Notable British Trials Series. Turning its pages, she found herself "obsessed" by the Stauntons, and decided to write a novel about them, a book that would turn out to be, as she noted, "one of the very earliest instances – if not the earliest – of a writer's recounting a story of real life, with the actual Christian names of the protagonists and all the available biographical details, but with the imaginative insight and heightened colour which the novelist exists to supply". She would call the story Harriet, after the victim.

The novel, her fourth, was published in 1934. It was not only her first commercial success; it also won the prestigious Prix Femina Vie Heureuse (the runners-up were Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust, and Antonia White's Frost in May). And no wonder. Though she later came to believe there was something "blameworthy: a sort of flagrant breach of copyright" about using real names, Harriet is a small masterpiece. Jenkins, unlike some, believed entirely in the guilt of those who, in September 1877, were found guilty at the Old Bailey of the murder by starvation of Harriet: her husband, Louis Staunton; his brother, Patrick Staunton; his sister-in-law, Elizabeth Staunton; and his lover, Alice Rhodes. Their crime involved, she wrote in a 2004 memoir, "almost unbelievable callousness and cruelty". But it is the quartet's unspoken complicity rather than their cruelty that she unpicks so deftly, presenting their crime not as a plan, but as a tacit agreement bound by their peculiarly intense relationships with one another.

Harriet is a novel in which people turn away from the truth with the same ease that they might draw a curtain over a draughty window. All four protagonists regard their own culpability (when they regard it at all) with polite distaste. Their lives remain quite delightful, unless they should happen to catch sight of their victim's shuffling, twitching form (what an annoyance she is!). Jenkins's story works on the reader because the horror has such a cosily domestic setting. The news that Harriet is to have a child is dropped into the story casually, in conversation; so, too, is the fact that the child has been born. Only a sentence or three later does the reader, realisation dawning, consider what this means: that Louis has slept with Harriet, a woman who knows nothing of sex, and whom he finds physically repulsive; that she must have found conceiving her child and giving birth utterly terrifying. And yet, for poor Harriet, much worse lies ahead.

Some time after the publication of Harriet, Jenkins received a letter from an old lady, Mrs Atkins, who wrote: "I think your story must be about the family that I was in service with when I was a young girl." The two arranged to meet, whereupon Mrs Atkins told the author that, Patrick Staunton having died in prison, his widow, on completion of her own sentence, had set herself up as the proprietor of an establishment used mostly by officers on leave from the Boer war. Elizabeth had married again, an older man, and it was Mrs Atkins's duty to take a bowl of soup to his bedroom in the middle of the morning. One day, a little late, she arrived to hear him muttering from behind the screen at the foot of his bed: "I shall get up. I'm not going to stay up here and be starved!" It was only on reading Harriet that Mrs Atkins realised the terrible import of these words. It was a story Jenkins relished.

But did Elizabeth Staunton and the others deliberately starve Harriet to death? Some believe they did not, pointing to the evidence of Clara Brown, the Stauntons' servant, who said nothing of her employers' abuse of Harriet at an initial inquest, but then, at the Old Bailey, contradicted herself by giving a detailed account of their cruelty. They question, too, the judge's handling of the trial, notably his dismissal of medical evidence which suggested that Harriet had died not from starvation but from cerebral disease, or tubercular meningitis. The Stauntons, they insist, were guilty of criminal neglect, but not of murder.

The trial ended, with a guilty verdict and Judge Hawkins's passing of the death sentence, on 26 September 1877. Soon after, a campaign for the Stauntons' reprieve began. There were petitions and public meetings, and on 14 October, some 48 hours before the hangings were due to take place, the Stauntons' mother, Mary, travelled to Balmoral in the hope of asking Queen Victoria for a reprieve (no audience was granted, though the Queen noted her visit in her diary). However, it was a leading article in the Lancet on 6 October that changed everything. The piece reiterated the medical evidence, and called upon doctors to add their names to a "memorial" to be submitted to the home secretary. Seven hundred doctors went on to sign this petition, among them Sir William Jenner. The home secretary could no longer withstand the pressure. On 14 October, the Stauntons' sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life. Alice Rhodes, meanwhile, was pardoned and released.

Patrick Staunton died of consumption in Knaphill prison, Woking, in 1881, at the age of 28. Elizabeth Staunton was released from Fulham reformatory by the order of the home secretary in November 1883, whereupon she set herself up, as Jenkins discovered, as a hotelier. She lived into her 70s. Elizabeth maintained that Clara Brown was a liar, and that neither she nor the others, however indifferent to Harriet, had wanted her to die. Asked by the prison chaplain why she did not send for a doctor, she replied that they did not think her illness serious. Alice Rhodes worked behind a bar in London after her release. The baby son to whom she gave birth in prison – Louis was his father – died at six months.

In Dartmoor convict prison, Louis Staunton was a model prisoner; every Sunday evening, he served the Mass in the Roman Catholic chapel, and priests who knew him believed his penitence to be genuine. Shortly before his release early on the morning of 25 September 1897, Staunton spoke to the prison's deputy governor. He said that he had been a selfish young man, for sure. But he also repeated the claims he had made during the trial that Harriet was a drinker, and that it was this that caused her to refuse the food that was brought to her.

Louis Staunton left prison in a suit made to measure by his fellow convicts, and boarded a train to London. There, he met Alice, who had waited for him, and they were married. Alice died shortly before the outbreak of the first world war, after which Louis married for the third time. He worked, with some success, as an auctioneer. He died at the age of 83, in 1934, the same year that he achieved notoriety all over again, as the villain of a brilliant and compelling new novel.

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Re: Crime fiction/True Crime

Post  eddie on Wed May 02, 2012 4:16 am

First ever detective novel back in print after 150 years

The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Felix, dating back to 1862, preceded The Moonstone by some years

Alison Flood

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 21 February 2012 13.38 GMT


The Notting Hill Mystery ... "The Baron came back and caught me ..." Detail from one of the original illustrations in Once a Week. Photograph: British Library Board

Poisoning, hypnotists, kidnappers and a series of crimes "in their nature and execution too horrible to contemplate": The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Felix, believed to be the first detective novel ever published, is back in print for the first time in a century-and-a-half.

Although Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone, published in 1868, and Emile Gaboriau's first Monsieur Lecoq novel L'Affaire Lerouge, released in 1866, have both been proposed as the first fictional outings for detectives, the British Library believes The Notting Hill Mystery "can truly claim to be the first modern detective novel".

Serialised between 1862 and 1863 in the magazine Once a Week, the novel was published in its entirety in 1863 but has been out of print since the turn of the century. It stars the insurance investigator Ralph Henderson, as he works to bring the sinister Baron "R___" to justice for murdering his wife to obtain a large life insurance payout. Using diary entries, letters, crime reports, witness interviews, maps and forensic evidence – "innovative techniques that would not become common features of detective fiction until the 1920s", says the British Library – Henderson's investigation slowly plays itself out, uncovering along the way an evil mesmerist, a girl kidnapped by gypsies, poisoners and three murders.

"Is that chain one of purely accidental coincidence, or does it point with terrible certainty to a series of crimes, in their nature and execution too horrible to contemplate?" asks the author Felix, a pseudonym for the journalist, traveller and lawyer Charles Warren Adams. The story's reception at the time was positive: the Guardian called it "very ingeniously put together", the Evening Herald said that "the book in its own line stands alone", while the London Review appears to be getting to grips with what a detective story actually is, describing The Notting Hill Mystery as "a carefully prepared chaos, in which the reader, as in the game called solitaire, is compelled to pick out his own way to the elucidation of the proposed puzzle".

The author Julian Symons identified The Notting Hill Mystery as the first detective novel in 1972, calling its primacy "unquestionable" and its plot "strikingly modern". The British Library first made the novel available via print-on-demand last March, as part of a collection of hundreds of 19th century novels. While most sold just two to three copies apiece, The Notting Hill Mystery took off following a glowing write-up in the New York Times which identified Adams as its author and described its ending as both "ingenious and utterly mad", selling hundreds of copies and prompting the library to issue its new trade edition this month.

"It's a great read, written in a very matter-of-fact way – as Paul Collins describes it in the New York Times, it's both utterly of its time and utterly ahead of it," said commissioning editor Lara Speicher. "At the beginning of the book you know what the crime is, then he gradually leads you through all the events leading up to the crime, and only at the end reveals how it happened. He keeps you going through the book. Modern fans of crime fiction would definitely enjoy it."

The British Library's new edition has been produced using photographs of the original 1863 edition, which featured illustrations by George du Maurier, grandfather of Daphne.

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Re: Crime fiction/True Crime

Post  eddie on Fri May 04, 2012 1:29 pm

At one stage in its development, the apotheosis of crime/mystery writing was held to be the "locked room" problem.

Any thoughts, peeps, on the recent real-life "spy in the bag" case?

The partially-decomposing body of an apparently disaffected UK spook, known to be interested in bondage, is discovered in a holdall in the bath of his London flat. The holdall was PADLOCKED FROM THE OUTSIDE.

Thoughts?

scratch

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Re: Crime fiction/True Crime

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