Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The favorite mystery writers of 1941.

The New York Times of April 18, 1941, reported on a survey conducted by Columbia University Press of the readership of its weekly newsletter The Pleasures of Publishing. Respondents reported reading 4.5 mysteries a month (one hopes they eventually finished the half portion) and the following as their favorite writers (in order of popularity):

1. Dorothy L. Sayers
2. Agatha Christie
3. Arthur Conan Doyle
4. Ngaio Marsh
5. Erle Stanley Gardner
6. Rex Stout
7. Ellery Queen
8. Margery Allingham
9. Dashiell Hammett
10. Georges Simenon

Thus the total is 4 Brits, 4 Americans, 1 New Zealand citizen, and 1 Belgian.

Lord Peter Wimsey was voted best detective; Marsh's Death of a Peer (aka A Surfeit of Lampreys, 1940) was deemed the best story read within the past six months, followed by Allingham's Traitor's Purse (1941).

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