City and Shore

The Function of Setting in the British Mystery

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About the Book

Certain settings have long been a common element in British mystery and detective fiction: the quaint village; the country manor; the seaside resort; the streets of London. More than simply providing background, physical setting—in particular the city of London and the British seashore—takes on an added dimension, in a sense becoming a player in the mysteries, one that symbolizes, intensifies, and illuminates aspects of the British mystery novel.
The first section examines 18 British mystery novels set in the city of London; the second covers 15 novels set by the sea. The novels span the twentieth century; among the authors whose works are included are Agatha Christie, Graham Greene, G.K. Chesterton and P.D. James. The book includes a short biography and listing of primary works for the authors covered, and appendices offer suggested fiction utilizing the two settings, and critical nonfiction covering the genre.

About the Author(s)

Gillian Mary Hanson is a native of Sussex, England and teaches English at the University of Houston Downtown. She is also the author of a number of books of literary criticism, and has written a mystery novel series set on the Texas Gulf Coast. She lives in Texas.

Bibliographic Details

Gillian Mary Hanson
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 203
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2004
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1844-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8362-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Introduction      3

PART ONE: THE CITY      11
The Old Man in the Corner (1901–1905) by Emma Orczy      13
The Club of Queer Trades (1905) by G.K. Chesterton      18
The Secret Agent (1907) by Joseph Conrad      24
The Man Who Was Thursday (1908) by G.K. Chesterton      28
The Charing Cross Mystery (1923) by J.S. Fletcher      35
Strong Poison (1930) by Dorothy Sayers      39
Hangover Square (1942) by Patrick Hamilton      43
The Ministry of Fear (1943) by Graham Greene      47
Murder by Matchlight (1945) by E.C.R. Lorac      54
Bodies in a Bookshop (1946) by R.T. Campbell      58
More Work for the Undertaker (1949) by Margery Allingham      63
The Tiger in the Smoke (1952) by Margery Allingham      69
Tether’s End (1958) by Margery Allingham      75
The Port of London Murders (1958) by Josephine Bell      79
At Bertram’s Hotel (1965) by Agatha Christie      86
The Glass Cage (1966) by Colin Wilson      90
Inspector Ghote Hunts the Peacock (1968) by H.R.F. Keating      95
Black Out (1995) by John Lawton      100

PART TWO: THE SHORE      105
The Blotting Book (1908) by E.F. Benson      107
Death Walks in Eastrepps (1931) by Francis Beeding      111
The Saltmarsh Murders (1932) by Gladys Mitchell      116
Have His Carcass (1932) by Dorothy Sayers      120
TheBoomerang Clue (1933) by Agatha Christie      120
A Shilling for Candles (1936) by Josephine Tey      120
Brighton Rock (1938) by Graham Greene      127
N or M ? (1941) by Agatha Christie      133
Murder in Retrospect (1941) by Agatha Christie      137
The West Pier (1951) by Patrick Hamilton      139
The Singing Sands (1953) by Josephine Tey      143
Unnatural Causes (1967) by P.D. James      146
Mad Hatter’s Holiday (1973) by Peter Lovesey      150
The Pier (1986) by Raynor Heppenstall      158
Devices and Desires (1990) by P.D. James      162

Conclusion      165
About the Authors      169
Notes      179
Bibliography      185
Index      193

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Interesting…extensive bibliography and index”—Reviewing The Evidence