Crime-Mystery-Detective Stories Criticism: Origins And Early Masters Of The Crime-Mystery-Detective Story - Essay

Stephen Knight (essay date 1983)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: Knight, Stephen. “‘… Some Men Come Up’—The Detective Appears.” In The Poetics of Murder: Detective Fiction and Literary Theory, edited by Glenn W. Most and William W. Stowe, pp. 267-98. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983.

[In the following essay, Knight traces the origins and development of the modern crime-mystery-detective story.]

At the center of modern crime fiction stands an investigating agent—an amateur detective, a professional but private investigator, a single policeman, a police force acting together. Specially skilled people discover the cause of a crime, restore order, and bring the criminal to account. This function has been...

(The entire section is 12821 words.)

LeRoy Lad Panek (essay date 1987)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: Panek, LeRoy Lad. “Turn-of-the-Century Writers.” In An Introduction to the Detective Story, pp. 96-119. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1987.

[In the following essay, Panek discusses a number of authors of crime-mystery-detective stories who wrote during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.]

When Doyle prematurely killed Holmes in 1894, The Strand Magazine announced in desperation that a new batch of Sherlock Holmes stories “will commence in an early number.” Knowing this was unlikely, the editors kept their collective foot in the door Doyle had opened by promising, “meanwhile, powerful detective...

(The entire section is 11396 words.)

Martin Priestman (essay date 1998)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: Priestman, Martin. “The Detective Whodunnit from Poe to World War I.” In Crime Fiction: From Poe to the Present, pp. 5-18. Plymouth, England: Northcote House, 1998.

[In the following essay, Priestman provides an overview of the development of the crime-mystery-detective story from the 1840s to World War I.]

The detective whodunnit focuses primarily on identifying the perpetrator of a crime which for most of the story or novel already lies in the past. As Tsvetan Todorov has pointed out in his useful essay ‘The Typology of Detective Fiction’, this placing of the major event in a concealed ‘first story’ which has taken place prior to most of the...

(The entire section is 5870 words.)