(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Henry Wade, who has been described as a “staunch advocate of the classical detective story in its purest form,” produced a total of twenty-one novels, some of them in the inverted rather than the classic form. Wade is often compared to Freeman Wills Crofts }, but his novels have deeper characterizations and their depiction of police procedure is more realistic. Wade’s novels frequently raise questions about the British legal system, and his strongly developed sense of irony, which seasons most of his work, finds its fullest expression in his criticism of the legal procedure. In his exposure of flaws in the legal system Wade anticipated and influenced a number of later writers. Many of Wade’s novels intersperse social commentary with clues, motives, and suspects, but his novels written between 1947 and 1957 take a particularly close look at the changing values in post-World War II England.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Barzun, Jacques, and Wendell Hertig Taylor. “Preface to The Dying Alderman.” In A Book of Prefaces to Fifty Classics of Crime Fiction, 1900-1950. New York: Garland, 1976. Preface by two preeminent scholars of mystery and detective fiction, arguing for Wade’s novel’s place in the annals of the genre.

Hausladen, Gary. Places for Dead Bodies. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000. This study of the settings of mystery and detective novels includes extended discussions of the police procedural subgenre and the specific importance of setting within police procedurals; provides background for understanding the works of Wade.

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 Wade’s work within that genre.

Shibuk, Charles. “Henry Wade.” In The Mystery Writer’s Art, edited by Francis M. Nevins, Jr. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1970. Essay devoted to Wade’s particular craft, his distinctive style, and their consequences for detective fiction.

Vicarel, Jo Ann. A Reader’s Guide to the Police Procedural. New York: G. K. Hall, 1995. Geared to the mainstream reader, this study introduces and analyzes the police procedural form, which Wade uses in his novels.