Lately I experimented with an alternative to the good old blogging format (I write, you read, you leave comments if you feel like it) found here, in which my knowledgeable and well-read blogfriend JJ at The Invisible Event and I discussed a specific novel (And Be A Villain by Rex Stout) in a real-time conversation using Facebook Messenger. Then I did a traditional blogpost on the same book.
I know our similarly well-read and knowledgeable mutual friend Brad at ahsweetmysteryblog enjoyed it, because he wants some more of it. Earlier today, I in Canada, JJ in England, and Brad in California, USA had a three-cornered chat on Facebook Messenger about — well, we were trying to find a topic that would interest our readers about which we could have a three-way chat. As Brad notes, we did have a VERY wide-ranging and no-holds-barred discussion about all kinds of things to do with GAD, including its racism, sexism, classism, and any other ism you can think of; the difference between US and UK GAD — and sadly that there is no Canadian GAD to speak of.
But we didn’t really find a topic upon which we all fell with cries of delight.
So I suggested we come to you, our readers, and ask. What topic of general interest about Golden Age Detection (GAD) would you be interested in reading about, when discussed by three well-read and enthusiastic participants?
We’re looking for more generalized things — not a specific book or a specific author, but one step back in distance, perhaps a group of authors or a sub-category of book or an all-embracing topic.
Don’t think too much about it — just say what comes to mind. We’ll cut this off soon if and when we find a topic.
Thanks in advance for giving us the benefit of your thinking!
This kind of question hints at sexism or racism and the revisionist thinking that must necessarily accompany it, I think. So let’s skip around those loaded topics and have a look at something else that often crops up in GAD yet isn’t often discussed – spiritualism.
Conan Doyle seems to have been beguiled by it but plenty of GAD writers were dismayed by this and used the notion of the fake spiritualist as the basis for their stories – Carr & Rawson immediately spring to mind.
Very nice! I will second that 😀
How about depictions of race in GAD fiction?
Just kidding, I agree with Colin. 😀 On the other hand, would be nice to see a discussion on the virtues of hardboiled crime fiction in contrast to the cosy
Not at all a bad idea. Carr/Christie vs Chandler/Hammett with Stout dancing around the middle ground.
I’m following right along with this, and thank you, gentlemen, but I’m not going to comment for fear of influencing your comments. I see I already did when I said we talked about racism. We did, but we also talked about lettuce 😉
Lettuce is dreadfully dull stuff. Now, if only you’d been discussing bitter almonds…
You recently wrote some pieces on Intertextuality, and in particular on social information/indoctrination as a partial answer to: Why do we read GAD?
I’d like to see the three of you explore this more generally, and in more depth. GAD focuses on the ‘comfortable class’ where public reputation and ‘keeping up appearances’ is critical in a way that doesn’t apply to either the very, very rich or the lower class (neither of which gives a damn about what other people think of them).
The other area where you might explore is intertextuality and characterization (and what behaviours are valuable to the community) It’s not that most (many?) GAD characters are two-dimensional, but that they present themselves as two-dimensional because they need to keep up the image of pillar of the community/reputable lawyer/Stepford Wife. The crime cracks the veneer and we watch as the cracks grow and the person behind the mask is revealed.
Spiritualism is also good.