Talking About Detective Fiction Hardcover – 23 Sep 2009
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Elegant and thoughtful ... It is PD James's longevity, as well as her serene intelligence, that makes this book especially noteworthy and enjoyable ... If you want to extend you own reading, discover new authors or clarify your thoughts, this is an excellent way to do so. -- Amanda Craig
A celebration of the best in crime writing through the ages from the world's pre-eminent crime writer and author of many bestselling titles including Death Comes to Pemberley and Children of Men. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Talking about Detective Fiction starts with an essay about the birth of this genre and the importance of Conon Doyle in making this kind of book popular. Much of the book concentrates on what she terms the "Golden Age" of detective fiction and the writers Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh figure largely. The American Golden Age also merits a chapter about the more gritty-style of Dashell Hammett and Ryamond Chandler. One of the later chapters touches on why PD James started to write detective fiction and a little about her approach to writing.
This is not an in-depth analysis of detective fiction: more a sampler of what's available, mainly from the past, and how these earlier books reflected the society of the time and influenced later writers. I enjoyed this book as not only did it remind me of books I'd read it also referred to authors from the past that I haven't read and might try.
"Talking about Detective Fiction" is a small, attractive volume of 160 pages (rather large print and copious white space make it even shorter than it first appears) that can be pleasurably read in an evening. James is an elegant writer and masterful essayist and people will enjoy reading her thoughts on the genre.
Those familiar with James' earlier critical writings will recognize some of the same material here, but it is pleasing to see all her thoughts gathered in one place, along with her latest ideas. James writes mostly about the so-called Golden Age of detective fiction (emphasizing the contribution of the Crime Queens Christie, Sayers, Allingham and Marsh, who get their own chapter), but she also has general chapters on the craft of detective fiction, the reasons for its appeal and its prospects for the future.
Modern and American writers get short shrift, barring the great hardboiled triumverate of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, limiting the book's utility as a general survey. James also emphasizes her belief that "realism" is the superior mode for detective fiction. Like Dorothy L. Sayers, she celebrates as a model for detective fiction the nineteenth-century novel of manners. Indeed, Sayers is clearly a huge influence on James' own critical thinking (James mentions reading Gaudy Night a year after it was published and explains the great impact it had on her). Another great influence is the late crime novelist and critic Julian Symons and his landmark 1972 study, "Bloody Murder." In other words, James does not break new critical ground, but she nevertheless produces some fragrant blooms from the old soil. Fans of Golden Age detective fiction and of P. D. James should enjoy the scent.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
excellent book, really helpfull with my research. Excellent condition - as newPublished 16 months ago by Connie
Oh, the wonderful, guilty enjoyment that is to be had in the consumption of detective novels! Delicious bite sized snacks, bursting with nostalgic delights, the page-turning... Read morePublished on 17 May 2014 by Amy James
The author writes well. The writing is clear, explicit and informative. The text suited the purposes for which it was bought, which was to understand Baroness's thinking and... Read morePublished on 21 Sept. 2013 by MMY
If you are new to the history of crime fiction then this is probably a decent primer however, I found it hard work. There was nothing new in this book. Read morePublished on 2 Jan. 2013 by Thor Odinson
Recommended for all who enjoy detective fiction, though as the lady herself observes, a story doesn't need a detective to be detective fiction. Read morePublished on 2 Mar. 2012 by Tinkertoo