The Mystery Novel, Past and Present
It was Edgar Allen Poe who got this genre started. We should have known, right? He understood our fascination with violence and, as an added attraction, an intellectual process of investigation that engages the mind searching for clues to solve the puzzle and nail the perpetrator. Something about this formula has made it one of the most popular of all times. What is it that makes such a strong appeal out of this strange and solitary art? We will dissect the mystery novel with the investigative skills of its own kind and try to understand its mechanisms, its appeal to our subterranean consciousness, its wild successes, and the history of its progress from Poe to today. If you want to get ahead and do a little advance preparation for the class read Poe's The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Doyle's The Adventure of the Speckled Band,\ Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and Chandler's The Big Sleep. Ah, such dark pleasure!!
David Watts’s literary credits include seven books of poetry, three collections of short stories, two mystery novels, seven western novels, a Christmas memoir, and several essays. He is a medical doctor, a classically trained musician, inventor and former television personality and commentator for All Things Considered. He publishes occasionally under the pseudonym of his alter-ego, Harvey Ellis, poetry that arises from the deeper levels of consciousness.