Victor Whitechurch Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Victor Whitechurch’s crime novels were written when England was not at war and when the prospect of war seemed remote. During this welcomed peace, the detective story form no doubt provided amusement and stimulation for Whitechurch as well as for his readers, yet his bucolic settings and the sturdy country folk about whom he wrote with such grace seemed hardly suited to violent crime. Perhaps having no taste for tales of brutal injury, he chose to dispense with the horror in the first chapter, in which he always revealed the crime’s occurrence. From that point he could proceed, in the remaining chapters, with the less emotional work of bringing the guilty to justice.

Whitechurch’s method of plot development, confided to the reader in the foreword of the novel, no doubt made writing each all the more pleasurable and challenging. By revealing his method, Whitechurch gives the reader a special participation in the work and a more intense interest in each turn of events.

Victor Whitechurch Bibliography

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Barzun, Jacques, and Wendell Hertig Taylor. A Catalogue of Crime. Rev. ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1989. List, with commentary, of the authors’ choices for the best or most influential examples of crime fiction. Whitechurch’s work is included and evaluated.

Cox, Michael. Introduction to Victorian Tales of Mystery and Detection: An Oxford Anthology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Relates Whitechurch’s fiction to the preceding Victorian culture from which it emerged.

Keating, H. R. F., ed. Whodunit? A Guide to Crime, Suspense, and Spy Fiction. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1982. General overview of the conventions and practitioners of British and American crime fiction; sheds light on Whitechurch’s works.

Kestner, Joseph A. The Edwardian Detective, 1901-1915. Brookfield, Vt.: Ashgate, 2000. Reads Whitechurch as emerging from and continuing the Edwardian tradition in detective fiction.

Steinbrunner, Chris, and Otto Penzler, eds. Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976. Analyzes Whitechurch’s distinctive contributions to British detective fiction between the wars.

Whitechurch, Victor. Foreword to The Crime at Diana’s Pool. New York: Duffield, 1927. The author reveals his method to his readers in this foreword, allowing them a glimpse behind the curtain before the novel has even begun.