The Edwardian Detective: 1901-15
This title was first published in 1999: Examines the range of detective literature produced between 1901 and 1915 in Britain, during the reign of Edward VII and the early reign of George V. The book assesses the literature as cultural history, with a focus on issues such as legal reform, marital reform, surveillance, Germanophobia, masculinity/femininity, the "best-seller", the arms race, international diplomacy and the concept of "popular" literature. The work also addresses specific issues related to the relationship of law to literature, such as: the law in literature; the law as literature, the role of literature in surveillance and policing; the interpretation of legal issues by literature; the degree to which literature describes and interprets law; the description of legal processes in detective literature; and the connections between detective literature and cultural practices and transitions. The book investigates many of the "canonical" and less canonical writers of detective literature, focusing on major figures including Conan Doyle, Chesterton, Bennett, Conrad and Buchan, but also reinvestigating writers such as Bramah, Mason, Barr, Bentley, Prichard and Childers. Important women writers of the genre are also discussed, including Lowndes, Orczy and Meade.
"[A] superb overview of the period 1901-15, focused both on generalities and on particular texts. The range is impressive, and the insights manifold, and, although there is some totally ridiculous lit crit folly scattered around the book, it should be in the library of all interested in detective fiction."
Jeremy Black, The Critic