By Fiona Kelleghan (ed.)
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Additional resources for 100 Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction (Magill's Choice)
Driven as much by a need for money as by his desire to re-create the world, this new Prometheus wrote between 1829 and 1848 some one hundred titles that make up his monu15 16 100 Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction mental La Comédie humaine (The Comedy of Human Life, 18851893, 1896; best known as The Human Comedy). He also published several literary magazines, short on subscribers but long on brilliant analysis, as shown by his study of Stendhal in the September 25, 1840, issue of Revue parisienne.
Also published under the name Anthony Berkeley was Trial and Error, which posits a mild-mannered, unprepossessing protagonist, Mr. Todhunter. Already under a death sentence imposed by an incurable illness, Mr. Todhunter, like the last and best ratiocinator in The Poisoned Chocolates Case, is most improbable in his role: He has decided that the way to achieve meaning in life is to kill someone evil. Thus, the reader is presented with a would-be murderer in search of a crime. The murder, then, within the structure of the text, is a pivotal climax rather than the more usual starting point for the principal plot developments.
A manservant must instantly recognize a gentleman and address him with a subtly different deference from that with which he would address a detective. Manderson’s manservant passes this test, calling Trent “Sir” and the detective merely “Mr. ” It at once becomes clear that this is not to be a case in which the butler did it. Yet Mr. Manderson’s maid, French in the fashion of the time and consequently lacking in reserve, is severely rebuked: “A star upon your birthday burned, whose fierce, severe, red, pulseless planet never yearned in heaven, Celestine.
100 Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction (Magill's Choice) by Fiona Kelleghan (ed.)
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