|About the Book|
The title of this very readable book is carefully chosen. The word detection is used deliberately instead of the words thriller, or shocker. These nineteen stories — they illustrate the full development of the detective story — rely on what isMoreThe title of this very readable book is carefully chosen. The word detection is used deliberately instead of the words thriller, or shocker. These nineteen stories — they illustrate the full development of the detective story — rely on what is known as the fair play principle. There have been notable instances of fair play for the reader — in Mrs Radcliffes Mysteries of Udolpho, for instance, where the mysterious happenings are found to have a basis in fact. But with the increase of new discoveries of such marvels as barbituric compounds, invisible rays, infra-red photography, not to mention Freudian psychology, it became more than ever necessary to explain murder (where these fresh elements were introduced into the story) by fair means of deduction, analysis of bloodstains, tests for poison, microscopic examination of bullets, and so on.The stories in this book are by such masters as R. Austin Freeman, G. K. Chesterton, Thomas Burke, Father Ronald Knox and Agatha Christie, and all play fairly with the reader. Poes Purloined Letter illustrates a criminal using his knowledge of psychology to outwit the police and a detective experts methods in drawing upon psychological inferences in solving the crime. Thomas Burkes The Hands of Mr Otter-mole, for all its striking horror, has clues fairly laid. Agatha Christie provides a modern specimen of the perfect murder by psychological means — a comparison with the Stevenson tale, Was it Murder? Henry Wades A Matter of Luck shows the reader the crime first and then proceeds with the detection. H. C. Baileys Yellow Slugs is not only first-class detection but also a characteristic expression of his passionate hatred of spiritual cruelty. And there are fourteen other stories by masters of the craft.