If you like or love the Big 4 Queens of Crime, Dame Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham and Dame Ngaio Marsh…then you are already reading ‘Golden Age’ ‘cozy’ detective fiction!
The ‘Golden Age’ period is normally stated as between the 1920’s to the 1930’s. But many practitioners continued their books through to the 60’s and some beyond (mainly Dame Ngaio Marsh who continued her Roderick Alleyn series right up to her death in the 1980’s).
For me, there should have been 5 Queens of Crime…the last one should have been Patricia Wentworth, creator of the Miss Maud Silver mysteries. 32 books in the series, that went from the late 1920’s to her death in 1960. She also wrote as many ‘one offs’ and sub series over a 40 year period. Personally I love the Miss Silver series, and I think they are well worth reading.
From the British contingent you have the big 4 queens (and yes, though Ngaio Marsh was a New Zealander, which is part of the British Common Wealth/Empire, hence her being made a Dame, she also spent half her life time living in the UK), plus Patricia Wentworth. But you also have great practitioners of the likes of John Rhode/Miles Burton’s Dr Lancelot Priestley and Desmond Merrion series, Nicholas Blake’s Nigel Strangeways series, Edmund Crispin’s Gervase Fen mysteries, Anthony Gilbert’s Arthur Crook series, plus J. J. Connington’s Sir Clinton Driffield series. Also American author who lived in the UK for 30+ years and created his Sir Henry Merrivale series and Dr Gideon Fell mysteries, under his own name of John Dickson Carr and as Carter Dickson.
Also from the USA came the writers like, Stuart Palmer’s Miss Hildegarde Withers, Leslie Ford’s Grace Latham & Colonel John Primrose, Frances & Richard Lockridge’s Mr & Mrs North, D. B. Olsen’s Rachel Murdock, Frances Crane’s Pat & Jean Abbott, Elizabeth Daly’s Henry Gamage, and Phoebe Atwood Taylor/Alice Tilton’s Asey Mayo and Leonadis Witherall mysteries and Ellery Queen’s Ellery Queen mysteries.
Just to mention a few. And the ones that I mainly read.
There are many, many more authors from both the UK and the USA that I haven’t mentioned, as the list would be endless!
But you will notice that there were just as many male authors as the females back in the ‘Golden Age’.
Some of these series are going through a reissue period. Like John Rhode/Miles Burton, some are being reprinted from the British Library Crime Classic collection. Nicholas Blake, Edmund Crispin, Stuart Palmer, Frances & Richard Lockridge, in most formats, some also in audio. And the Patricia Wentworth non Miss Silver mysteries have been reissued in the last few months. Her Miss Silver books have never gone out of publication. And J. J. Connington, Anthony Gilbert & John Dickson Carr are being reissued by The Murder Room in ebook.
Sadly the only ones I haven’t seen yet in reissue, are the Carter Dickson, Leslie Ford and the D. B. Olsen books. The Elizabeth Daly books, some have been republished in paperback and are still available. Carter Dickson did have a reissue period back in the 1990’s of a few books, but disappeared again.
All are well worth reading (in my opinion) 🙂
I will try, at some point to do blog pieces on all of them. Highlighting each author and why I like/love their books. All with a reading lists.