Review: The Murder Book: An Illustrated History of the Detective Story
The Murder Book: An Illustrated History of the Detective Story by Tage La Cour
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If I were to judge this book solely on the number of books it caused me to add to my 'to read' shelf or movies that were added to my Netflix queue, this would be a strong six stars. The book is arranged in chapters (that read like essays written by very doting fans, so there's a star loss there) covering some of the most famous authors, characters and sub genres of crime solving fiction. The illustrations range from plates from first editions to film stills, with captions every bit as informative as the text of the book itself. The translation isn't the best, however, with some sentences lacking clarifying punctuation and others lacking meaning altogether. The order of the chapters is muddled, starting with chronological history, then jumping into author and character studies, then back to chronology. And oh, the sexism in the chapters on women writers and detectives! Even for a book written in 1971, it's offensive. But with all that wrong, it's still a great resource book for any fan on mysteries, at least those published or filmed prior to the late 60s.
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