Talking About Detective Fiction

Talking About Detective Fiction To judge by the worldwide success of Arthur Conan Doyle s Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie s Poirot it is not only the Anglo Saxons who have an appetite for mystery and mayhem Talking about the cr

  • Title: Talking About Detective Fiction
  • Author: P.D. James Diana Bishop
  • ISBN: 9781609981938
  • Page: 324
  • Format: Audiobook
  • To judge by the worldwide success of Arthur Conan Doyle s Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie s Poirot, it is not only the Anglo Saxons who have an appetite for mystery and mayhem Talking about the craft of detective writing and sharing her personal thoughts and observations on one of the most popular and enduring forms of literature, P D James examines the challenges,To judge by the worldwide success of Arthur Conan Doyle s Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie s Poirot, it is not only the Anglo Saxons who have an appetite for mystery and mayhem Talking about the craft of detective writing and sharing her personal thoughts and observations on one of the most popular and enduring forms of literature, P D James examines the challenges, achievements and potential of a genre which has fascinated her for nearly fifty years as a novelist P D James explores the metamorphosis of a genre which has gripped and entertained the popular imagination like no other type of novel Written by the author widely regarded as the queen of the detective novel, this book is sure to appeal to all aficionados of crime fiction.

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      Published :2018-08-21T21:28:33+00:00

    One thought on “Talking About Detective Fiction

    1. Brina

      Always up for a challenge, I took on an A-Z author challenge this year. For my J selection, I chose long time mystery writer P.D. James. Toward the end of her life, James penned an extended essay about the history of detective and mystery writing, mainly set in her native England but including a select few American detective writers as well. I found the essays to be informative, as James, through her expertise, relayed how modern mystery writing became to be.The first prerequisite for a detectiv [...]

    2. Richard Derus

      Rating: 4* of fiveIt's a wise idea to consult the masters of a genre that you want to enter prior to making a foray into it. I though this was going to be more of a how-to than it was; it's still valuable for a tyro to read the high-level musings of a practitioner of the art of detective fiction.Not terribly useful as a how-to writing guide, but rather as a why-to genre joining guide.

    3. Susan

      I'll confess, I read this book because I wanted to see what one of my favorite authors had to say about my other favorite authors. However, this book is not just insight on Agatha, Marjorie and Dorothy; P.D. James actually discusses the processes she used (and continues to use) to create her wonderful mysteries. Yes, she talks about Sherlock, Father Brown, Lord Peter, Albert Campion, Miss Marple, Morse and Hercule Poirot, but she also discusses the origins of detective fiction, the "hard boiled" [...]

    4. Bryoniadioica

      I'm not sure what audience this book was pitched to - but I wasn't it. This is no slur on the work or the writer: I have an academic interest in detective fiction and a readerly interest in P.D. James' novels, and I was hoping for either deeper personal reflections on her life and writing, or a critical analysis of detective fiction as it relates to her work, in the style of A. S. Byatt, whose non-fiction critical work provides the other half of her thought. This was more of a gentle meander thr [...]

    5. Wendy Dranfield

      This is a really interesting look at the history of crime fiction, including Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. It's fascinating to consider how the genre has changed over the years and if, like me, you write crime fiction you'll enjoy the rules we are supposed to abide by and how fun it is to break them!

    6. Tfitoby

      I usually object to the term 'nice' being applied to a book but in this instance I will make an exception. This was a nice and accurate study of the history of the British detective novel written by somebody who is not only highly thought of in the field of detective fiction but most importantly a real fan of the genre.I have never read a single novel from the pen of P.D. James (Cover Her Face is on the horizon now) but I can see why she is so popular in the detective story market, her passion f [...]

    7. Jim Coughenour

      I'm sorry to say that this book is as dull as its title. I've read almost everything James has written – most recently The Private Patient, with the usual Jamesian cast of cultured hyper-constipated characters. This book is a rather dutiful, altogether unnecessary survey of (almost exclusively British) detective fiction. It's with a cream tea.What I really wanted, I realized, was her take on her contemporaries – Gossiping About Detective Fiction. Surely she's possessed of juicy insights tha [...]

    8. Vishy

      A few days back I was looking for some light, breezy reading and when I looked at my bookshelves, ‘Talking about Detective Fiction’ by P.D.James leapt at me. So I took the book down from the shelf and read it. It was a fast read, and I finished reading it yesterday. Here is what I think.What I thinkIn ‘Talking about Detective Fiction’ P.D.James gives an overview of British detective fiction in the past one hundred and fifty years. The key operative word here is ‘British’. She begins [...]

    9. James Joyce

      Nice, easy-going review of mystery fiction, from The Moonstone to modern day. Ish.Mostly focused on Holmes and up to James's contemporaries. Covers attitudes, changes in approach, style, expectations of readers, etc Even has a section on American pulp mysteries.A very nice overview and worth it, if you are a mystery fan.

    10. Max Everhart

      Aside from digging her work, particularly the Commander Adam Dalgliesh books, James has many brilliant insights on both British detective stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy Sayers as well as American hard-boiled fiction by Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald. Anytime a master of the genre writes what amounts to a How To Write and/or Interpret Great Detective Fiction book, a mystery novelist would be well-advised to read and take notes. . .which I did. I’ve cobbled together my favori [...]

    11. Julie

      P.D. James had a lovely way of laying out an argument and proceeding carefully through her topic, point by point. The history of detective fiction, as she shared it, broke no new ground but made me want to return to old favorites (Ngaio Marsh!) that I first read in my teens and early twenties. I particularly loved the chapter about the "Big Four" - Christie, Allingham, Sayers, and Marsh. The latter part of the book, which talked about the importance of setting and characterization, was also fasc [...]

    12. Abrir un Libro

      Generosa tesis la de P. D. James en Todo lo que sé sobre novela negra donde explica de forma muy personal, y ejerciendo de mentoring para todos aquellos que quieran instruirse en la novela negra ya sea como escritor o como lector, desempeñando la función de guía para hablar de los inicios y del desarrollo de la novela de detectives y del hard-boiled. También hará un somero recorrido por la novela negra contemporánea.Amena y para nada tediosa o confusa, la exposición será muy clara y est [...]

    13. Liz Nutting

      In 1980, on the plane home to California for Christmas holidays, after my first semester at Bryn Mawr College, I opened Dorothy L. Sayers' Gaudy Night for the first time. The book had been thrust into my hands by some older classmates, who assured me that if nothing else, I would appreciate the descriptions of Oxford, whose soaring College Gothic architecture and quaint academic traditions would remind me of college life at Bryn Mawr (which had been consciously modeled on "Oxbridge" by M. Carey [...]

    14. Wendy

      This book makes a valuable, if somewhat incomplete, survey of the mystery genre. I think it's most suited to readers like me, who enjoy a good detective story, but don't have a particularly good sense of the genre's history and scope, and could use a little help finding more stories that they will enjoy. It's particularly ideal for readers who enjoy British mysteries, and particularly those of the "Golden Age" of detective fiction (roughly the period between the two world wars). James devotes a [...]

    15. Tony

      James, P. D. TALKING ABOUT DETECTIVE FICTION. (2009). ****. Who would know more about detective fiction than this world-class author? It was a treat to read her views and analyses of the genre although she did stick pretty much to the English variety. Of Americans mentioned, there were Chandler, Hammett, and Paretsky. She also mentions in passing several other non-Brits, but does not delve into their works. She starts off with Wilke Collins, then goes on to Conan Doyle, then jumps into what is k [...]

    16. willaful

      This short discussion of the mystery genre will interest any fan, but particularly those of the classic English mystery. (Newcomers be warned, there are plenty of spoilers.) The writing style is a bit on the fussy and formal side, with a fair bit of filler (so-and-so is great, will always be remembered, yadda yadda yadda), but with some dry wit that made me laugh aloud several times. Each chapter also opens with an entertaining cartoon.My main problem with the book was that in every area in whic [...]

    17. James

      If you are interested in learning about detective fiction this is a good place to start. You may have to go no further. P. D. James, whose novels I have enjoyed reading, has written an informative, if not comprehensive, short book about detective fiction. Starting with references to the earliest examples of the genre in books like Charles Dicken's Bleak House, she discusses writers and their works including Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett and others. She discusses [...]

    18. Laurel Hicks

      A nonagenarian crime fiction master talks about her craft. No mystery here, just good, brainy writing.

    19. Eustacia Tan

      I can only theorise that the reason why this book lay unread for so long was because I wanted to save it. In its own way, the anticipation of a good book is almost as good as reading a good book. Luckily, I was not disappointed.Talking About Detective Fiction is a discussion of the genre, from its definition and history, to famous women writers, the technical aspects, and criticism of the genre. And of course, there's a discussion of the modern day mystery (modern = 2009)The whole book is really [...]

    20. Graeme Roberts

      P. D. James provides great pleasure to lovers of mystery and detective fiction, examining the history of the genre and how it works, with examples from the legends, live and dead. Having read a number of her books, I enjoyed her inside stories:My own detective novels, with rare exceptions, have been inspired by the place rather than by the method of murder or a character; an example is Devices and Desires which had its genesis while I was on a visit of exploration in East Anglia, standing on a d [...]

    21. Christophe Van

      (1) Informative, (2) opinionated based on experience and intellect, and (3) rendered with wit and style. Because of (2) and (3), this slender volume is very enjoyable even for experienced readers of detective fiction and the related meta-literature.

    22. DeAnna Knippling

      Sadly, this didn't resonate with me. PD James's writing is excellent and thoughtful, bute book doesn't cover much. It's a book for people who aren't familiar with mysteries, but one that only people who are familiar with mysteries would want to read.

    23. Michele

      A short and very readable little book on the nature, charms, and enduring popularity of the detective novel, by an acknowledged master of the craft. One of my favorite bits was her discussion of the "rules" of detective fiction, as laid out by Ronald Knox in his preface to the anthology Best Detective Stories of 1928-29, which include no more than one secret room or passage, no hitherto undiscovered poisons or methods requiring long scientific explanation, and no Chinamen (!). Another entertaini [...]

    24. Evelyn

      Spent my childhood reading not only my own books but my mother's, with an odd exception-- I rarely read her mystery novels. She had a particular section of the wall-sized bookcase in the den relegated to mystery writers, almost entirely slim paperbacks whose sensational covers very much reflected the aesthetic Gordon Lightfoot once described as belonging to " a paperback novel, the kind the drugstores sell." I'm indeed nostalgic for the days of paperbacks in the drugstore, but that's another mat [...]

    25. Chris

      I started reading P. D. James a few years ago after I watched a television show on Agatha Christie. While I enjoyed the old Tommy and Tuppence series, I never could get into the books. James give me a reason why, and so I picked up one of her books and liked it.This book is not a mystery but is about mysteries. It is well written; in fact, it is warmly written. James traces the development of the genre in a quick but asute way. She covers Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conon-Doyle, Nagio Marsh, Christie [...]

    26. AngryGreyCat

      This was a fascinating non-fiction turn by P.D. James. In this book, she discusses the genre of detective fiction, the Golden Age of Mystery Writing, the “rules” of detective fiction, the rise of the hard boiled detectives, prominent female writers, and then individual components, setting, viewpoint and people. In particular she discusses that genre fiction has a place in writing just as literary fiction does."We can honour and celebrate the genius which produced Middlemarch, War and Peace, [...]

    27. Matthew Mitchell

      Highly satisfying! James is not only a master novelist in detective fiction herself but a discerning analyst of the genre. She understands what makes my favorite kind of book so engaging, pleasing, and addictive, and does a nice job explaining it to the rest of us. James parsed out my thoughts and feelings about my favorite authors and their sleuths: Dorothy L. Sayers, Edith Pargeter (Ellis Peters), Conan Doyle, etc, into insightful short essays. Highly recommended if you like this sort of thing [...]

    28. Dana Stabenow

      One of the problems with reading a book like this is that now I have a whole list of great crime fiction novels going back to the Golden Age on my to-read list. Damn Baroness James, damn her!Otherwise, this is a lively little volume that examines the author's genre in a literate and often gently acerbic style. Of 221B Baker Street, she writes, "We also learn that the sitting room was Sherlock Holmes's office and the place where he received his visitors, which meant that Watson had to be banished [...]

    29. Catherine

      Not that I need to justify my voracious appetite for a classic detective story. But P.D. James, definitely a master of the genre, expresses beautifully why I enjoy reading Dorothy Sayers, Colin Dexter, Raymond Chandler, and of course, Agatha Christie. She also provides a succinct overview of the history of detective fiction in England, starting with Doyle and Wilkie, the ways in which the genre has evolved in terms of subject and form, and the ways in which the English writers differed from the [...]

    30. Margarita

      A quick lesson on the history of British detective fictionUnsurprisingly, there were multiple references to Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers and Raymond Chandler. What stood out, though, was P.D.James's insight into the evolution of the genre, partly driven by the chronological evens, such as the evolution of women's rights (Dorothy Sayers), and a general appetite for plot driven stories (Christie) compared to character driven stories (Doyle's Sherlock Holmes).Mrs James did an [...]

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