(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Mary Kelly is unique in her use of industrial settings for many of her novels—a steel mill, a paper factory, and a pottery, for example. Her murders often involve elaborately planned industrial espionage, rather than personal grudges. Her characters, however, are complex; her detectives themselves are confused about their lives, often flawed in their capacity to maintain human relationships. Because of her interesting settings and compelling characterization, Kelly can maintain suspense from the first paragraph to the final page of a novel.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

DuBose, Martha Hailey, with Margaret Caldwell Thomas. Women of Mystery: The Lives and Works of Notable Women Crime Novelists. New York: St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2000. Although this work does not deal directly with Kelly, it covers other female authors who wrote mysteries when she did and therefore provides comparison.

Hanson, Gillian Mary. City and Shore: The Function of Setting in the British Mystery. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2004. A useful comparative source for understanding the importance of Kelly’s use of industrial settings for her detective fiction. Bibliographic references and index.

Horsley, Lee. Twentieth-Century Crime Fiction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. This comprehensive overview of the development of crime fiction in the twentieth century helps place the nature and importance of Kelly’s distinctive contributions.

Review of The Christmas Egg, by Mary Kelly. The New York Times Book Review, July 24, 1966, p. 28. Review of this Brett Nightingale series book provides a contemporary critique of Kelly’s work.

Review of Dead Corse, by Mary Kelly. The Times Literary Supplement, July 21, 1966, p. 640. This contemporary review provides a useful sampling of her critical reception.