(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

E. X. Ferrars cannot be considered one of the major innovators of detective fiction. Nevertheless, she had a solid core of admirers, who included the late Anthony Boucher, mystery reviewer for The New York Times. Her work was in the classic British tradition: The principal characters belong to the upper or the middle class, great emphasis is placed on intricate plotting, and the story aims principally at unraveling a puzzle. In contrast to many other classic authors, Ferrars was an excellent analyst of character, and her stories often turn on psychological points. She avoided depicting violence in any detail; her style is clear and efficient, with an occasional resort to literary quotation.

E. X. Ferrars Bibliography

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Adrian, Jack. “Obituaries: Elizabeth Ferrars.” The Independent, April 19, 1995, p. 14. Obituary of this founding member of the Crime Writers’ Association notes her popularity in the United States and her writing of cozies.

Ferrars, Elizabeth. “The Canceling of Mrs. Arbuthnot.” In Julian Symons at 80: A Tribute, edited by Patricia Craig. Helsinki, Finland: Eurographica, 1992. One of Ferrars’s last stories, written as part of a tribute to a fellow mystery writer and therefore an important example not merely of her craft but also of her portrayal of that craft to her peers.

Herbert, Rosemary. Review of Something Wicked, by E. X. Ferrars. Library Journal 109, no. 4 (March 1, 1984): 511. A professor comes to an English village where he discovers that the snow covers hatred and evil stemming from the long-ago death of a neighbor. Reviewer notes the “intriguing characterization.”

Horsley, Lee. Twentieth-Century Crime Fiction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Very useful overview of the history and parameters of the crime-fiction genre; helps place Ferrars’s work within that genre.

Klein, Kathleen Gregory. Great Women Mystery Writers: Classic to Contemporary. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994. Contains a biocritical essay on Ferrars and deals at length with many of her contemporaries.