Wednesday on his blog, author Martin Edwards posted his choice for the Ten Best novels of the Golden Age of crime writing. This generated considerable buzz among the Usual Suspects. Mystery aficionados that we are, some of us had to admit that we’d not even heard of several books on the list, much read them. And when you start trying to hunt them down, as I did, you find, precious few in print, at least here in the U.S. Even used copies are not exactly thick on the ground, and as far as finding them in e-book format – well, good luck with that.
I’ve had some little experience with a couple of these titles. The Suspects discussed Murder Must Advertise a while back; that is not the Sayers title I would choose. Trent’s Last Case I read years ago and enjoyed a great deal. That would make it onto my own list of Golden Age favorites. And what else would be on my list? Ah well, I might as well succumb to the temptation:
1. Death in a White Tie by Ngaio Marsh
2. Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
3. Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers
4. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
5. Dancers in Mourning by Margery Allingham
6. Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey
7. The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey
8. Trent’s Last Case by E.C. Bentley
9. The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie (Miss Marple short stories)
10. The Labors of Hercules by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot in a series of linked stories)
11. The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie
Yes I know; it’s supposed to be the top ten, not the top eleven. And I have multiple entries for several authors, nearly all of them fairly well known. But you see, I am nowhere near as well read in Golden Age crime fiction as Martin Edwards is. I look forward to improving the situation.
Martin did an additional post on Agatha Christie. I understand why; she really is in a class by herself. I didn’t do that here, but I would liked to have added The Body in the Library, A Caribbean Mystery, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and Five Little Pigs to my own list. ( As regards And Then There Were None, I’m a dissenter, for various reasons.)
Meanwhile, Martin’s selections and his pithy annotations have evoked in me that well known hunger. I’m supposed to be purchasing only e-books at present, but I sense that resolution faltering….