(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

The word often and accurately used in descriptions of Nicholas Blake’s twenty mystery novels is “literate.” He started writing mysteries in the period known as the Golden Age of the form in Great Britain, a period with such thoughtful and articulate practitioners as Michael Innes, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, and Margery Allingham. Blake excelled in his dual role as poet and mystery writer, producing, in the estimation of some critics, better mysteries than poems. His poetic talents undoubtedly influenced his novels, whether detective stories, thrillers, or crime novels. In the quantity and quality of literary allusion, in the diversity of characterization and physical description, and in the overt use of his own personal experience, Blake was of the class of writers who raised the standards of mystery fiction.