It's a Mystery

A Brief History of the Mystery

Welcome to the first posting of It's a Mystery.  For those of you who share an interest in reading mysteries, I hope to bring you information about the mystery genre, including trends, author information, news about forthcoming books and lots more.

A brief history of the mystery takes us back to ancient times when playwrights Sophocles and Euripides wove mysteries into their dramas.  But the man known as the "father of the mystery story" is Edgar Allan Poe, who introduced the first fiction detective, Auguste C. Dupin, in The Murders in the Rue Morgue in 1841.  Other writers who influenced Poe and the early mystery genre were Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins.  The Leavenworth Case, penned by Anna Katherine Green in 1878, is the first mystery story written by a woman.

Sherlock Holmes was introduced by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 1880s in A Study in Scarlet.  By the 1920s, British mysteries were extremely popular, leading to the time period being named the Golden Era of Mystery Fiction.  And the writer whose name became synonymous with this era is, of course, Agatha Christie.  Her sleuths Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple are two of the most endearing and enduring characters in mystery fiction.

American mystery writers who influenced the genre in the mid 20th century include Ellery Queen, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Mickey Spillane.  Today there are an equal number of women and men writing mysteries in a number of sub-genres, including cozies, police procedurals, hard-boiled, and noir.  The popularity of mystery fiction continues to soar.

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