James Lewton-Brain A Murderous Fascination
In the following reﬂections, I refer to the ‘classic’ detective story, exempliﬁed by writers such as Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, or latterly, P.D. James. Comparable non-British writers would include Simenon with the Maigret novels or Carolyn Heibrun’s alter ego Amanda Cross. What distinguishes the genre from more generalized adventure stories is the concentration on the small community, perfectly portrayed in the small English village or, in an even more circumscribed way, an English country-house party. Where the setting is the more diffuse one of the great city, the focus is narrowed to a club, a school, a theatrical company.