In the first major history of crime fiction in fifty years, The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and their Creators traces the evolution of the genre from the eighteenth century to the present, offering brand-new perspective on the world’s most popular form of fiction.
The Life of Crime is the result of a lifetime of reading and enjoying all types of crime fiction, old and new, from around the world. In what will surely be regarded as his magnum opus, Martin Edwards has thrown himself undaunted into the breadth and complexity of the genre to write an authoritative – and readable – study of its development and evolution. With crime fiction being read more widely than ever around the world, and with individual authors increasingly the subject of extensive academic study, his expert distillation of more than two centuries of extraordinary books and authors – from the tales of E.T.A. Hoffmann to the novels of Patricia Cornwell – into one coherent history is an extraordinary feat and makes for compelling reading.
This is a crime-lover’s dream – a comprehensive treatment of crime fiction by a master of the genre, presented in a readable and fascinating way. It took me awhile to finish this as this is the kind of book I dip in and out of, reading a chapter here and there. And reading a chapter isn’t as easy as it sounds, because I found I had to keep a notebook handy to write down all the authors and books I haven’t read, but which Edwards presents in various forms.
This will appeal to readers of crime fiction and probably not many others, so it’s a niche buy. I’d recommend for large library collections.