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Ten Rules for a Crime Novel

I bumped into a fab page referenced on Facebook which was Raymond Chandler’s ten rules for writing a detective novel. As the article makes clear, Chandler wasn’t just providing a prescriptive list, he was being playful by having a go at those detective novels that had preceded him. In particular, he clearly had issues with Agatha Christie.

Funnily enough, although no-one is laughing right now, I too have issues with Christie. As a teenager I consumed a huge quantity of her output thanks to the resources of my local library. But no matter how hard I concentrated on each word on every page, when it came time for the big reveal, I never predicted the bad guy apart from the odd lucky guess. Why? She hid essential information from the reader to make her detective appear smart.

Not impressed. Seriously not impressed.

 

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