The scene: a sleeping car on the North-Western express, somewhere between Preston and Carlisle. The weapon: a small-caliber revolver. The victims: two young newlyweds, with little money and no known enemies. The puzzle: everyone in the car has an alibi, and no one was seen to leave. Here are all the ingredients for another gripping detective story.
The Oxford Book of English Detective Stories gathers 33 engrossing tales of crime, ranging from the birth of the genre to the present day. Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham, P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, Robert Barnard, and Simon Brett--all the giants of English mystery are here, as well as Christianna Brand, Ngaio Marsh, Michael Innes, Reginald Hill, Nicholas Blake, Michael Underwood, and many more. Editor Patricia Craig treats us to Sherlock Holmes, indefatigably tracking the details of the theft of Colonel Ross's prize horse, Silver Blaze, and the murder of its trainer. In "The Oracle of the Dog," G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown sits calmly in his study, solving at a distance the perplexing murder of Colonel Druce: was it the foreign Dr. Valentine, the foppish lawyer Traill, or Floyd, the exuberant American secretary? P.D. James sends Chief Superindentant Dalgliesh on the trail of a mysterious death from some seventy years before--a case with a final, darkly ironic twist. And Robert Barnard grimly lampoons English academe in "The Oxford Way of Death." In addition to this dazzling array of stories, Craig provides a concise introduction which surveys the origins and development of this enduring genre.
Ingenious, gothic, morbid, satirical--the English detective story ranks among the most dynamic and gripping fiction. In The Oxford Book of English Detective Stories, Patricia Craig presents some of the best ever written, in an absorbing tour of the world of crime, detection, and retribution.
John Mortimer, Mail on Sunday
'Essential for all armchair detectives, this collection of the cream of crime includes stories by Agatha Christie and P D James.'
'According to W.H. Auden, reading detective stories is an addiction like tobacco or alcohol ... and this new collection of 33 stories will satisfy the most desperate of cravings.'
'in terms of sheer enjoyment ... a great deal to offer ... excellent introduction'
Jeremy Lewis, New Statesman & Society
'Only la creme de la creme of detective fiction here ... a whole autumn's worth of the most enduringly popular stories with brief notes on each author.'
Keith Taylor, Bristol Evening Post
'addicts should find plenty in this collection to keep them happy ... enjoyable book'
'an eminently representative volume ... a nice balance between Golden Age and Modern Age'
Stephen Walsh, Oxford Times
John Mortimer, Mail on Sunday
'an anthology to set the pulse racing '
Barry Forshaw, Islington Gazette
'remind the reader of old favourites while introducing unfamiliar stories that may well become favourites of the future'
Ion Trewin, Hampstead & Highgate Express
'In Patricia Craig's collection, covering roughly a century, there is something for everyone already addicted to the genre plus a risk of chronic intoxication for those who come new to it.'
Matthew Coady, Guardian
'a selection that covers the history, development and best examples of some branch of writing ... There is no better anthology of this kind in existence.'
F.E. Pardoe, Birmingham Post
'Thirty-six of the top writers entertain with fascinating and intriguing stories. Ideal to settle down with in a comfortable armchair in front of a roaring fire.'
Yorkshire Gazette & Herald
'One can but raise a glass of mulled wine in salutation to the indefatigable Ms Craig for the assiduity and perspicacity of her gleanings and for the tender loving care with which she has presented them ... there are some classics of the genre to be found among these pages.'
Michael Painter, Irish Times
'the collection affords an interesting overview of the development of the genre ... All these gems appear in other collections; unique to this one is the charm of finding them bound like a bible in OUP's august covers.'
Michael Dibdin, Independent on Sunday
Rachel Laurence, Daily Post
'She has done well ... to include more or less every conceivable variation of plot and point of view.'
Times Literary Supplement