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    This anthology of rare stories of crime and suspense brings together 16 tales from the golden age of detective fiction for the first time in audiobook form.

    The golden age of detective fiction had begun inauspiciously with the publication of E.C. Bentley’s schismatic Trent’s Last Case in 1913, but it hit its stride in 1920 when both Agatha Christie and Freeman Wills Crofts - latterly crowned queen and king of the genre - had crime novels published for the first time. They ushered in two decades of exemplary mystery writing, the era of the whodunit, the impossible crime and the locked-room mystery, with stories that have thrilled and baffled generations of readers.

    This new volume in the Bodies from the Library series features the work of 16 prolific authors who, like Christie and Crofts, saw their popularity soar during the golden age. Aside from novels, they all wrote short fiction - stories, serials and plays - and although most of them have been collected in books over the last 100 years, here are the ones that got away....

    In this audiobook you will encounter classic series detectives including Colonel Gore, Roger Sheringham, Hildegarde Withers and Henri Bencolin; Hercule Poirot solves ‘The Incident of the Dog’s Ball’; and Dorothy L. Sayers’ chilling ‘The House of the Poplars’ is published for the first time.

    With a full-length novella by John Dickson Carr, this diverse collection concludes with some early ‘flash fiction’ commissioned by Collins’ Crime Club in 1938. Each mini story had to feature an orange, resulting in six very different tales from Peter Cheyney, Ethel Lina White, David Hume, Nicholas Blake, John Rhode and - in his only foray into writing detective fiction - the publisher himself, William Collins.

    ©2020 Tony Medawar (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

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    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • John
    • 24/07/2020

    Looking Forward to Volume 4

    The first collection blew me away. I was (somewhat) disappointed by the second. Now I just enjoy these for what they are: collections of curios and occasional treasures; odds and ends that maybe even their authors felt were not worth preserving—or that they simply forgot in the torrent of fiction that made up the Golden Age of Detection. The whole process reminds me of beachcombing. That said, don’t imagine for a moment that you won’t enjoy yourself. Here you’ll find the first (and, I have no doubt, only) Agatha Christie that I was able to figure out before the last sentence. Here lurks one of those strange, dream-like tales Dorothy Sayers sometimes turned out when not writing about Lord Peter or Montague Egg. Another curio—a time capsule, really—Anthony Berkley’s brief Second World War yarn warns against the danger of loose lips. Christopher Bush’s “The Hampstead Murder” satisfies, even if (or maybe because) you can see the end before you get there. And Joseph Cummings’ “The Scarecrow Murders” achieves some authentic creepiness. The first real treasure is John Dixon Carr’s “Grand Guignol”. A master of the impossible crime, this exceeds all expectations; let’s hope for more recordings of Carr’s many novels and stories. The second treasure is a series of six brief tales by six different authors, all working from the same premise: “One night, a man picked up an orange in the street; this saved his life”, the best (for my money) by John Rhode. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, maybe this book isn’t your particular cup of Oolong. Philip Bretherton turns in his usual excellent performance. Though somewhat taken aback by his American accents, the stories were too intriguing for that to pose more than a temporary barrier to enjoyment.

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