Queens of Detective Fiction

imgresThis week, we’re shamelessly stealing our blog post title from this excellent piece by Lucy Worsley on the undisputed queens of Golden Age crime fiction, published in online books magazine ‘We Love This Book’.

Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh are, as Worsley points out, ‘the longest-lasting and best-remembered writers [of the Golden Age]’ and ‘came, at least in retrospect, to dominate our picture of crime writing in the 1930s’.

And crime writing has never since lacked its mistresses of the art, many of whom you can find in The Murder Room, from M. M. Kaye‘s hugely popular Death In . . . series, to the blackly comic Pamela Branch, the award-winning Joan Fleming and Elizabeth Ferrars (the woman the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine described as ‘the writer who may be the closest of all to Christie in style, plotting and general milieu’), and more recent additions to the canon, thriller writers Margaret Murphy, Lesley Glaister and Hilary Norman, ex-NYPD detective Dorothy Uhnak and queen of cosy crime, Betty Rowlands.

Lucy Worsley will be discussing the aforementioned ‘queens of Golden Age crime’ and many more in her new three-part series, A Very British Murder on BBC4, which is described as ‘The history of our curious relationship with murder’.

From the clips we’ve watched, it looks like the perfect complement to The Murder Room. If the series whets your appetite, you can find everything from the Victorian detective (embodied by Francis Selwyn‘s Sergeant Verity of Scotland Yard) to the Detection Club, who numbered among their members half a dozen Murder Room authors, including J. J. Connington, Laurence Meynell, Geoffrey Household and founder member Ronald Knox.


A Very British Murder starts 23 September on BBC4 at 9 p.m.