This brief introduction to what will be a regular blog is being written with my first book, Narratives of Enclosure, the first full length critique of the locked room mystery, in production, with a date for publication in July. This form of detective fiction has a
long history of association with the genre so it surprised me that no one had produced
such a work before. I have come to writing late, so in addition to all the usual concerns about how the book will be received, producing a book and negotiating the intricacies of publishing are totally new experiences for me. This has completely changed the rhythm of my life and my enduring passion for books has now taken me over, as I knew it would someday. I may yet attempt fiction but for now I am content to write literary
criticism, partly a legacy of my academic studies, but also my own deep
Why detective fiction?
My first recollection of owning an adult book is a trip to Harrogate and my parents taking me into W. H. Smith’s (in the days when it was a proper bookshop) and buying the two volumes of Sherlock Holmes Long and Short Stories for my twelfth birthday. They were in the familiar John Murray edition and I have them still, nothing would ever induce me to part with them. I cannot now begin to recall how many times these much treasured texts have been read, but it certainly challenges Auden’s assertion that he could only read a detective story once! Since that day detective fiction has always had a special place in my affection, despite my frequent excursions into literature of all kinds. Looking back, although I didn’t realize it at the time, I guess it was the purity of its narrative form, the surety of asatisfactory outcome, that first appealed to an inquisitive boy eager to make
sense of the world, all those years ago.
In my next entry, I will reflect on some of the issues in the book and look forward to my next project and the research I am undertaking.