On Sale: May 7, 2015
Hardcover / e-Book
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A real-life detective story, investigating how Agatha
Christie and colleagues in a mysterious literary club
transformed crime fiction, writing books casting new light
on unsolved murders whilst hiding clues to their authorsâ€™
darkest secrets. Now an Edgar Award Nominee!
This is the first book about the Detection Club, the worldâ€™s
most famous and most mysterious social network of crime
writers. Drawing on years of in-depth research, it reveals
the astonishing story of how members such as Agatha Christie
and Dorothy L. Sayers reinvented detective fiction.
Detective stories from the so-called â€śGolden Ageâ€ť between
the wars are often dismissed as cosily conventional. Nothing
could be further from the truth: some explore forensic
pathology and shocking serial murders, others delve into
police brutality and miscarriages of justice; occasionally
the innocent are hanged, or murderers get away scot-free.
Their authors faced up to the Slump and the rise of Hitler
during years of economic misery and political upheaval, and
wrote books agonising over guilt and innocence, good and
evil, and explored whether killing a fellow human being was
ever justified. Though the stories included no graphic sex
scenes, sexual passions of all kinds seethed just beneath
Attracting feminists, gay and lesbian writers, Socialists
and Marxist sympathisers, the Detection Club authors were
young, ambitious and at the cutting edge of popular culture
â€“ some had sex lives as bizarre as their mystery plots.
Fascinated by real life crimes, they cracked unsolved cases
and threw down challenges to Scotland Yard, using their
fiction to take revenge on people who hurt them, to conduct
covert relationships, and even as an outlet for homicidal
fantasy. Their books anticipated not only CSI, Jack Reacher
and Gone Girl, but also Lord of the Flies. The Club occupies
a unique place in Britainâ€™s cultural history, and its
influence on storytelling in fiction, film and television
throughout the world continues to this day.
The Golden Age of Murder rewrites the story of crime fiction
with unique authority, transforming our understanding of
detective stories and the brilliant but tormented men and
women who wrote them.
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