Friday, May 24, 2013

The Evolution of the Mystery Genre

Trent’s Last Case


E. C. Bentley
Trent's Last Case is actually the first novel in which gentleman sleuth Philip Trent appears. The novel is a whodunit with a place in detective fiction history because it is the first major sendup of that genre: Not only does Trent fall in love with ones of the primary suspects—usually considered a no-no—he also, after painstakingly collecting all the evidence, draws all the wrong conclusions.

Convinced that he has tracked down the murderer of a business tycoon who was shot in his mansion, he is told by the real perpetrator over dinner what mistakes in logical deduction he has made in trying to solve the case. On hearing what really happened, Trent vows that he will never again attempt to dabble in crime detection. Trent’s Last Case is listed #33 by the Mystery Writers of American on the Top 100 Mystery Novel's of All Time. The Kindle edition is free on Amazon.

E. C. Bentley (July 10, 1875– March 30, 1956)

Edmund Clerihew Bentley was born in London, and educated at St Paul's School and Merton College, Oxford.. Bentley worked as a journalist on several newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph. His first published collection of poetry, titled Biography for Beginners (1905), popularized the clerihew form; it was followed by two other collections, in 1929 and 1939. His detective novel, Trent's Last Case (1913), was much praised, numbering Dorothy L. Sayers among its admirers, and with its labyrinthine and mystifying plotting can be seen as the first truly modern mystery. It was adapted as a film in 1920, 1929, and 1952. The success of the work inspired him, after 23 years, to write a sequel, Trent's Own Case (1936). There was also a book of Trent short stories, Trent Intervenes. Several of his books were reprinted in the early 2000s by House of Stratus.

From 1936 until 1949 Bentley was president of the Detection Club and contributed to both of their radio serials broadcast in 1930 and 1931 and published in 1983 as The Scoop and Behind The Screen. Phonographic recordings of his work "Recordings for the Blind" are heard in the movie Places in the Heart, by the character Mr. Will.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Evolution of the Mystery Genre

Dance Hall of theDead
Tony Hillerman

Dance Hall Of The Dead is the second of the Navajo Tribal Police series by Tony Hillerman. Centered around the character of police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, Dance Hall of the Dead is, like many of Hillerman's books, set on the Navajo Reservation in the Four Corners region of the American Southwest. Themes of the book include the Zuni religion and hostility between the Navajo and the Zuni.

When a young Zuni boy and his Navajo friend go missing, Lieutenant Leaphorn is called in by the Zuni Tribal Police to search for George Bowlegs, the missing Navajo boy. When Ernesto Cata, Bowlegs' Zuni friend, is found murdered, the search for Bowlegs takes on even greater significance

Tony Hillerman (May 27, 1925 – October 26, 2008)

Anthony Grove Hillerman was an award-winning American author of detective novels and non-fiction works best known for his Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels. Several of his works have been adapted as big-screen and television movies

He was born in Sacred Heart, Oklahoma, and was a decorated combat veteran of World War II, having served as a mortarman in the 103rd Infantry Division. He earned the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart.

From 1948–1962, he worked as a journalist, then earned a master's degree. He taught journalism from 1966 to 1987 at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and also began writing novels. He lived there with his wife until his death in 2008.

Hillerman, a consistently bestselling author, was ranked as New Mexico's 22nd wealthiest man in 1996. He wrote 18 books in his Navajo series. He wrote more than 30 books total. Dance Hall of the Dead is listed #37 on the Mystery Writers of America’s Top 100 mystery Novels of all Times.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Evolution of the Mystery Genre

Eye of the Needle


Ken Follett

One enemy spy knows the secret to the Allies' greatest deception, a brilliant aristocrat and ruthless assassin -- code name: "The Needle" -- who holds the key to ultimate Nazi victory.

Only one person stands in his way: a lonely Englishwoman on an isolated island, who is beginning to love the killer who has mysteriously entered her life.

All will come to a terrifying conclusion in Ken Follett's unsurpassed and unforgettable masterwork of suspense, intrigue, and the dangerous machinations.

Ken Follett (June 5, 1949)

Follett is a Welsh author of thrillers and historical novels. He has sold more than 100 million copies of his works. Four of his books have reached the number 1 ranking on the New York Times best-seller list: The Key to Rebecca, Lie Down with Lions, Triple, and World Without End.

Follett was only twenty-seven when he wrote the award-winning EYE OF THE NEEDLE, which became an international bestseller. His celebrated PILLARS OF THE EARTH was voted into the top 100 of Britain's best-loved books in the BBC's the Big Read. He has since written several equally successful novels including, most recently, WHITEOUT. He is also the author of non-fiction bestseller ON WINGS OF EAGLES. He lives with his family in London and Hertfordshire.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Evolution of the Mystry Genre

The Name of the Rose


                                           Umberto Eco

The Name of the Rose is a historical murder mystery set in an Italian monastery in the year 1327, an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory. First published in Italian in 1980 under the title Il nome della rosa, it appeared in English in 1983.

William of Baskerville and his novice Adso of Melk travel to a Benedictine monastery in Northern Italy to attend a theological disputation. As they arrive, the monastery is disturbed by a suicide. As the story unfolds, several other monks die under mysterious circumstances. William is tasked by the abbot of the monastery to investigate the deaths as fresh clues with each murder victim lead William to dead ends and new clues. The protagonists explore a labyrinthine medieval library, discuss the subversive power of laughter, and come face to face with the Inquisition. William's innate curiosity and highly-developed powers of logic and deduction provide the keys to unravelling the mysteries of the abbey. It was listed #23 on the Mystery Writer’s of America’s Top 100 Mystery Novels of all Time.

Umberto Eco (January 5, 1932)

Umberto Eco is an Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist. He is best known for his groundbreaking 1980 novel Il nome della rosa (The Name of the Rose) He has since written further novels, including Il pendolo di Foucault (Foucault's Pendulum) and L'isola del giorno prima (The Island of the Day Before). His most recent novel Il cimitero di Praga (The Prague Cemetery), released in 2010, was a best-seller.

Eco has also written academic texts, children's books and many essays. He is founder of the Dipartimento di Comunicazione at the University of the Republic of San Marino, President of the Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici, University of Bologna, member of the Accademia dei Lincei (since November 2010) and an Honorary Fellow of Kellogg College, University of Oxford.