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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books - Martin Edwards

This is what I imagine a bibliography in narrative form would look like.  I don't know how else to describe it.  I'd go so far as to say that there's no actual 'story', as the title implies, because there doesn't seem to be a cohesive ... point (message/timeline/etc.) between chapters.  Each chapter represents some facet that Golden Age Crime books took on:  locked-room mystery, country-house mystery, political mystery, etc. and begins with the narrative bibliography of notable works.  This is followed up with 2-4 longer essays, each giving closer attention to books that the author believes best represents that facet.

 

None of that is to say that it wasn't excellent - it was.  But this is a book for the serious mystery lover, not a reader with a casual curiosity about the evolution of crime writing.  Or anyone trying to curb their TBR piles.  I have so many new (old) books and authors to start hunting down it's overwhelming.  I might actually have to resort to a spreadsheet; I hate spreadsheets, but there's just too many appealing treasures here and Edwards sells them up, even when he's trying not to.  

 

I deducted a star because I found some of the writing sort of clunky (this is a cultural thing, I'm sure) but mostly because the chapter openings were just too crammed full of goodness; at times there could be as many as three titles and authors mentioned in a single sentence, with more immediately following.  It got to be too much at times and I'd catch myself just glazing over, without really taking in what I was reading.

 

This is definitely going to be a life-long source of reference for me, as well as a source of income for the used book sellers.