The Appeal of Classic Crime

by Gavin Pugh

There is something comforting about slipping back in time to an earlier age even if you are dealing with the gruesome subject of murder.

Take as example Sherlock Holmes, whose analytical methods of detection still manage to captivate us despite first appearing in A Study in Scarlet way back in 1887. Skip forwards a few years and you have Agatha Christie’s creations Hercule Poirot (who first appeared in 1920 in The Mysterious Affair at Styles) and Miss Jane Marple (1927 in The Thirteen Problems). If I were to mention these names to the average reader I suspect most would have heard of them and some would have read them. Hopefully you have too – but they are just the tip of the detective-iceberg. My personal favourite is Gladys Mitchell’s hawkish, beady-eyed, widowed Mrs Bradley, the star of over 60 novels whose techniques include a combination of polymathic psychoanalysis and blunt, carefree questioning.

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