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A. A. Fair's The Bigger They Come

The Bigger They Come was the first of Erle Stanley Gardner’s Cool and Lam mysteries (published under the pseudonym A. A. Fair). It was published in 1939 and was followed by a further twenty-eight Cool and Lam novels.

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The Crooked Hinge

The Crooked Hinge was the ninth of John Dickson Carr’s mysteries to feature his series detective Dr Gideon Fell. It was published in 1938 and seems to be generally regarded as one of his best novels.

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Dragon’s Cave

Dragon’s Cave, published in 1940, was the eighth of Clyde B. Clason’s mystery novels featuring his amateur sleuth Professor Lucius Theocritus Westborough. Clason wrote ten detective novels between 1936 and 1941 before abandoning the genre, apparently because he disapproved of the directions in which crime fiction was starting to head.

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Agatha Christie's Three Act Tragedy

Three Act Tragedy is a 1934 Hercule Poirot mystery by Agatha Christie. For most of the book however Poirot is very much in the background. This could be a weakness but luckily Christie provides us with some memorable supporting characters who are just about colourful enough to ensure that the reader’s interest does not flag.

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postwar British detective fiction

This relates to a bit of a discussion on the Beneath the Stains of Time blog on the downbeat and slightly bleak tone of late 1940s/early 1950s British detective fiction and its possible connection to the miseries of postwar austerity and rationing in Britain.

Has anyone else noted the sudden switch to a more depressing more pessimistic tone in British crime fiction in the early postwar years? And does anyone have any other theories to explain this other than the grim economic conditions of the time?

Send for Paul Temple

Francis Durbridge’s first Paul Temple radio serial for the BBC having been a great success in 1938 it was not only inevitable that more would follow, but also that the character would cross over into other media. Eventually there would be a series of films (including Calling Paul Temple), a comic strip and a television series. And in 1938 came the first of the Paul Temple novels, Send for Paul Temple.

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Enter the Saint

Enter the Saint is a collection of three very early novellas (The Man Who Was Clever, The Policeman with Wings and The Lawless Lady) recounting the adventures of Simon Templar, alias The Saint. It appeared in book form in 1930.

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Murder on the Bridge

Murder on the Bridge, published in 1930 (and also known as QED), is one of Lynn Brock’s Colonel Gore mysteries. It’s a bit of a hybrid but it’s not entirely lacking in interest.

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casting Hercule Poirot - bizarrely

While it's certainly possible to take issue with Margaret Rutherford's performance in the role it has to be said that Miss Marple hasn't been subjected to quite such a bizarre casting decision as befell Hercule Poirot in 1965. In that year someone came up with the brilliant idea of having the ace Belgian sleuth played by - Tony Randall! Yes, really. And they actually went ahead and made the movie.

Could this be the worst Agatha Christie-related casting choice of all time?

the many movie Miss Marples

What about the other actresses who played Miss Marple? The early 60s Margaret Rutherford movies are not to everyone's taste. I loved them when I was a kid but I have no idea how I'd react to them now.

Angela Lansbury and Helen Hayes are among the other notable actresses who've played MIss Marple. Any thoughts on their performances?