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A Short Explanation of Classic Detective Fiction

Classic detective fiction is the type of fiction that really makes a reader focus on the pages. These types of stories are not generally very gory or bloody as such stories can be today, but they do hold some blood and gore inside the pages; they just release it shortly and at proper intervals. The history of classic detective fiction is interesting to say the least. Most critics agree that classic detective fiction rose from the pages around 1841 when the famous Edgar Allen Poe wrote the story of The Murders in the Rue Morgue. His character, Dupin, is able to solve the crimes that were unable to be solved by the police thereby paving the way for future detectives to come along and do the same.

He created the dazzling detective who attempts to solve the perplexing crime and the aloof colleague (or friend) who records every bit of the case in detail. The police, of course are lost. They appear to be unsure of which road to follow and by the end they are completely astonished as everything is laid out before them by the hero (the detective). After Poe’s discovery and subsequent tale, there were many attempts at successful detective fiction but none were notable until Recollections of a Detective Police Officer by Waters.

At this point, the stories had become almost unreadable since there really was no literary attempt. The end to hack writing came in 1859 when Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White forced other writers to show some sort of a literary effort to be able to compete. The other notable novel that followed in Collins’ footsteps was Hugo’s Les Miserables (1862) which is still immensely popular in theatre today. Novels such as this were published for years, giving the public reason to believe that there would never be an evolution of the genre.

However, in 1887, Sherlock Holmes emerged from the pages of Beeton’s Christmas Annual. Unfortunately, the original story did not take off at first. The intricate character had seemed doomed to fade into the pages and be lost forever. Four years later, in 1890, Lippincott picked up Doyle and put him on contract to write more Holmes stories.

Strand magazine also began publishing Doyle’s detective stories. This is when the craze began. The first stories were combined into a book to form a series. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was enormously successful, and so was the following series, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, even though Doyle made a decision to kill of Holmes in this series. Of course, since this was now a very popular character, the death of Holmes generated anger and protest among the public. The demand for Sherlock Holmes was greater than ever.

Although Doyle obviously did not want to do it, he was finally forced to bring the character back to life around 1905 to appease both the public and the publishers. This character and the cases that he participated in changed the way that detective fiction would be written from then on. Doyle is now considered to have paved the way for the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.

Chris Haycock is an information publisher, one of whose many hobbies includes crime fiction. Early detective fiction in particular. A particular favourite is Sherlock Holmes. If you would like to know more about Sherlock Holmes and an excellent offer, why not go now to


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