Crime and Mystery


Only a tiny fraction of the Crime and Mystery genre is represented here — in no small part because the Golden Age of crime fiction occurred in the 1920's to 1940's, and therefore most works from that era are still in copyright in most countries. The list presented here represents many of the early works of the genre.

A detailed exposition of crime fiction can be found on Wikipedia

Works available in this collection

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) may lay some claim to be the inventor of Detective Fiction, with the three Auguste Dupin stories, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Purloined Letter, and The Mystery of Marie Roget. Also of interest is The Gold-Bug, involving the decoding of a cypher to solve a mystery.

Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) is credited with first great mystery novel The Woman in White (1860) He is sometimes referred to as the "grandfather of English detective fiction". His novel The Moonstone was descibed by T. S. Eliot as "the first and greatest of English detective novels" and by Dorothy L. Sayers as "probably the very finest detective story ever written".

Along with Poe's Auguste Dupin, Émile Gaboriau's (1833-1873) Monsieur Lecoq was one of the earliest fictional detectives, and the inspiration for many writers to come.

Fergus Hume (1859-1932) wrote what has been called "One of the 100 best crime novels of all time" (Sunday Times), The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (1886). Hume admits in his preface to the second edition that, having decided to write a book,

"I enquired of a leading Melbourne bookseller what style of book he sold most of He replied that the detective stories of Gaboriau had a large sale; and as, at this time, I had never even heard of this author, I bought all his works — eleven or thereabouts — and read them carefully. The style of these stories attracted me, and I determined to write a book of the same class; containing a mystery, a murder, and a description of low life in Melbourne."

Mary Fortune (1833-1910) lays claim to being the first woman writer of detective fiction, as well has having the longest running serial, The Detective's Album.

Anna Katharine Green (1846-1935) was one of the first writers of detective fiction in America, distinguished by well plotted, legally accurate stories.

Arthur Conan Doyle 1859-1930), created the greatest (or at least best-known) of all fictional detectives, Sherlock Holmes, a sort of distillation of all that had preceded him, with a strong emphasis on deduction and forensic detail.

And finally, G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) created a different kind of detective in Father Brown, who uses intuition rather than deduction to solve crime.

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