Comments: 6
I'll be tracing my actual reads in either a comprehensive update post or a special page (or a page linking back to a post).

That said, I've started to compile a spreadsheet with all the books from my Martin Edwards reading lists (755 all in all), to prioritize on the basis of "read / TBR," "own / wishlist" and "detective / series" ... and possibly other criteria, such as Edwards's comments, if I should ever have the stamina to include those, too.

Still waiting for my copy of "Murder of a Lady", btw. Grrr!!
Murder by Death 1 year ago
I created this as a page off my blog here, so I can just update it as I need to.

I sat down on Tuesday and went through all my mystery anthologies (except the Edwards titles) and compiled a list of the short stories they included by golden age authors (48 in all), although with the exception of those found in the anthology of locked-room mysteries, I don't know which categories they'd fall into. But with the exception of a few I have on order - see below - I'd like to read these first, rather than buying even more than I already am. :P

Question: Are you only counting what you read from this point, or are you backfilling any of the categories? I have no idea what to do: on the one hand, this isn't a game, it's just a fun way of tracking it and the point is to sample all the different types of Golden Age mystery writing. On the other hand, it's a bingo card and there's a part of me that feels like I'm cheating by counting books I've already read. :P What do you think?

Books I have on order:
The Poisoned Chocolates Case
Crimson Snow
Death On Allhallowe'en (Leo Bruce)
Kissing Covens and Coffin, Slightly Used (Colin Watson)
The Moving Toyshop (Edmund Crispin)
The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars (Anthony Boucher - Yank, but Golden Age and mentioned by Edwards)

I ALMOST got A Case For Three Detectives by Leo Bruce too, but someone beat me to it by, from the sound of it, mere minutes. Mike @ Mysterious Books says someone came in out of the blue and cleaned them out of Leo Bruce titles - I saw it on the website and bought it before the database had a chance to update. Boo! But he's keeping an eye out for another copy and I can always check the UK sites.

Did you know that the Murder by Death book adaptation was written by H.R.F. Keating? Not Golden Age, but a Detection Club member! :D
Oh gosh, you're down to short story anthologies even? I'm not going to bother with those -- I may count some of the Edwards anthologies towards the card, but that's about it as far as those are concerned. Other than that, it'll be novels only -- and just the novels I haven't read yet. In fact, that's part of why I created my spreadsheet with all the books that Edwards mentions ... for one thing, I want to be sure I'm reading (and counting) only books I haven't already read, and for another, one of my criteria in adding books to my TBR (either wishlist or purchases) is going to be how well they fit with what I have already ... serial minds, and all that. (Also, if I counted what I have already read, I could fill virtually the entire card with Agatha Christie alone in a snap, and where would be the fun in that?)

I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you for the Leo Bruce books then ... seems we're not the only people inspired by Edwards's books!

And, yes, I knew about "MbD - the Novel." :) I bought and finally read it earlier this year ... before the Golden Age craze broke. Shame on Mr. Keating for the ending, though!!

Murder by Death 1 year ago
Yeah, that ending was just awful. And I can't figure out why he did it either. :(

I did the short story inventory mostly because I didn't want to go on a buying spree; other than Christie and Sayers (and Doyle) I don't have a lot of width in my reading for that era. It seemed wiser to try the short stories, since I have so many of them, first and find the authors I like best (for example, after reading 2 Chesterton's, I'm likely going to avoid buying any of this books as neither of the two I've read left me feeling anything but irritated). I'm hoping it will focus my buying choices, rather than risk buying blindly and ending up with someone I won't like.
Chesterton is hit or miss for me, and the funny thing is, Father Brown is one of the "great detectives" where I actually like some of the screen versions better than the literary original. (E.g., there used to be a series starring Heinz Rühmann in Germany, and as a kid I used to be a big fan of Mr. Rühmann's ... 'Nough said.) I like Father Brown just fine whenever he's just doing the detecting and not acting as a mouthpiece for his creator's lectures -- though I agree, even some of the "straight detection" stories are a bit, um, on the esoterical side.

I do think by and large Martin Edwards is right, though, in saying that the Golden Age formula lent itself better to novels than to short stories. Dorothy L. Sayers got away with quite a few clever ones, and Christie used short stories as mini-laboratories to try out material she'd later use (in altered form) in novels -- and of course ACD wrote before the Golden Age formula was even established -- but by and large, short stories work better if they feature a "great detective" whose character has already been established elsewhere, so they aren't burdened with the task of character creation in addition to plotting the mystery ... and even then, cramming the misdirection that's a necessary part of the Golden Age formula into a short story can end up being just an added burden (and without proper misdirection, there often isn't enough material left to make the mystery interesting, because the culprit becomes obvious way too soon -- unless, of course, you're looking at an "inverted" mystery that isn't concerned with "whodunnit" in the first place). -- Come to think of it, in fact, on that score Chesterton deserves high marks, because he tends to play fair with the reader and nevertheless -- mostly -- manages to squeeze in just enough misdirection to keep the reader guessing, which in itself is no mean feat.

Anyway, I've got a few Penzler and other "non-Edwards" short story anthologies on my TBR, but the only ones I own are the British Library collections edited by Edwards. So my approach to short stories is going to be inverse from yours ... start with the Edwards anthologies and take it from there, checking table of contents on a case by case basis.
Murder by Death 1 year ago
I want to say there was a Father Brown series in the US in the 80's? It had Richie Cunningham's (from Happy Days) dad in it as Father Brown. My mom loved it, but there were already too many priests in my life at the time (Catholic school) so I never watched it. I want to like his writing, but I just don't. The Haunted Bookshop just killed me and the short story only verified for me his writing style is not compatible with my taste.

I don't expect much from the mystery structures of the short stories; of the ones I've read so far in the Edwards anthologies, I've yet to find one that I'd actually *call* a mystery, but I do get a good idea of whether or not I'll like the author's style. Raffles is a good example - I was curious about the Raffles books but after reading a short story, I am much more confident that the books are ones I'd like to read.