Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Scrapbooks of mystery author
Carolyn Wells.

Room 26 Cabinet of Curiosities of Yale's Beinecke Library gives us a peek into the appealing scrapbooks of mystery author and humorist Carolyn Wells (1869?–1942); her novel The Clue (1909) appears on the Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone list. She was married to Hadwin Houghton, son of publisher Bernard Houghton (of Houghton Mifflin). Her Sherlock Holmes parody "The Adventure of the Clothes-Line" (1915) can be found in The Game Is Afoot (ed. Marvin Kaye, 1994).

In The Technique of the Mystery Story (1913), Wells wrote:
The detective story has been called "ingenious but somewhat mechanical." Here the stigma lies in the "but." The detective story is ingenious and mechanical. On these two commandments hang all the laws of mystery fiction writing. Also ingenious and mechanical are the Fixed Forms of verse. Who denies the beauty and art of sonnets and rondeaux, and even sestinas, because they are ingenious and mechanical? (15)

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