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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An overview of the history of the subject, 7 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Talking About Detective Fiction (Paperback)
I love P.D. James' novels and so I read this anticipating some real insights into writing detective fiction. I was very disappointed by it, but then I realised that I was probably expecting more than the writer set out to deliver. It is just 'talking about' the subject - nothing more profound. What disappointed me most was that the chapters were simply a pass through the history of the detective novel - she concentrates on the 'classic' books and talks about Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, Dorothy Sayers etc. Raymond Chandler gets a mention, but not other Americans. And the great contemporary proliferation of the genre (of which she is one of the beneficiaries) doesn't get much coverage at all. It all felt very dated. What I wanted was an analysis of the genre - what makes the great thriller writers great and perhaps some recommendations of new writers to read.
The book was an interesting series of essays though and there are some very good illustrations and quotes. It was written to raise money for the Bodleian Library and PD James was almost 90 when she wrote it. A very remarkable woman.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Jan 2013 18:54:21 GMT
"Raymond Chandler gets a mention, but not other Americans." Actually, she discusses Dashiell Hammett and Ross Macdonald in some lenght. Her favourite is Macdonald's Lew Archer.

Posted on 30 Mar 2013 15:34:17 GMT
Grr says:
It is a little harsh and completely illogical to mark a writer down, because the book doesn't measure up to what you were "hoping" for. The clue is in the title - "Talking About Detective Fiction" and in the foreword she says it is a personal account. Hope that solves the mystery for you.
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