Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Symons's "The Mystique of the Detective Story" (1981).

In March 1981 author-critic (Mortal Consequences/Bloody Murder, etc.) and then-Detection Club president Julian Symons (1912–94) delivered a lecture on "The Mystique of the Detective Story" at the Vancouver Institute, contrasting modern works with those of the Golden Age. He gave a humorous precis of a typical English country-house mystery and emphasized "the power of reason" in Golden Age mysteries. Symons discussed the work of Patricia Highsmith, noting, "Ripley is the horrific modern counterpart of [E. W. Hornung's] Raffles." He also dealt with the mysteries of P.D. James and Ruth Rendell as well as his own books. "Whatever its merits may be, [the crime story] does begin and end as sensational literature," he stated. He mentioned his admiration for George V. Higgins, as well as Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, and critiqued John Creasey. Symons considered Nicholas Blake (aka Cecil Day-Lewis) as one writer who bridged Golden Age and modern mysteries.

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