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The Modern Scholar: Detective Fiction: From Victorian Sleuths to the Present
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The Modern Scholar: Detective Fiction: From Victorian Sleuths to the Present

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  35 ratings  ·  16 reviews
From mysterious origins through the Victorian sleuths and the "Golden Age" of the genre (the 1920s through the 1940s) and to the present day, detective fiction, mysteries, and spy thrillers have consistently topped best-seller lists around the world.

Professor M. Lee Alexander provides listeners with a lively discussion of groundbreaking authors from Edgar Allan Poe and Art
Audiobook, Unabridged
Published July 22nd 2010 by Recorded Books
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Alexis Neal
Alexander isn't much of a lecturer, but I'm a big enough fan of detective fiction that I was able to overlook her lackluster delivery and less than incisive remarks. Really, she just lists the various well-known or important authors whose works fall into various categories of detective fiction--"golden age" detective fiction, hardboiled private eyes, amateur detectives, etc. I wasn't nearly as inspired to go out and read new authors as I was after listening to Michael D.C. Drout's lectures on sc ...more
Lourdes Venard

In a series of lectures, Prof M. Lee Alexander presents a history of detective fiction, covering all the subgenres, from amateur (Simon Brett, Diane Mott Davidson) to hard-boiled (Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler), and from espionage (Eric Ambler, John LeCarre, Tom Clancy) and legal (John Mortimer, John Grisham) to medical and forensic (Robin Cook, Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs). She also talks about historical detective fiction (Josephine Tey, Bruce Alexander), women detectives (P.D. James,
Benjamin Thomas
A series of 14 "lectures" that attempt to describe the history and various sub-genres of detective fiction. The narrator, Professor M. Lee Alexander, unfortunately offers very little outside of cataloguing numerous examples of detective fiction. A typical lecture, say on "Medicine for Murder: The Medical Mystery" would consist of the fact that such works are detective fiction that involve medicine. Really? They involve medical terms and procedures more than other forms of detective fiction...lik ...more
This was only a so-so series of pretty dry lectures. While it covered all the genres in detective fiction in some fashion I thought the material was dry and uninteresting. The lecturer was not inspiring and she gave a dry recitation of the authors, the books and the stories. There was a good deal of repetition in the chapters. In addition she only focused on a few authors and series while leaving out many award winning authors. Indeed, it would have been a good lecture on all the industry awards ...more
Works well as a reading list for those who haven't read much detective fiction. Some negatives, though:

* The instructor often repeats herself verbatim, sometimes immediately. Lack of editing or something.
* She often talks about "ethnic detective fiction" without ever defining what that means. Nor could I infer anything coherent from what she considers "ethnic" and what she does not.
* She spoils several stories outright, e.g. G.K. Chesterton's "The Invisible Man" and Val McDermid's novel "A Plac
A thoroughly enjoyable course, covering the surprisingly modern beginnings of the mystery story/novel, through the full flowering of the genre around the world, in every culture and historical time period. I got several good ideas for authors/novels I'd like to check out in the future. The professor has a pleasant delivery and a lot of fun with her topic.
Larry Marshall
Loved this book. Knowledgable author, well-presented information. If I have any criticism it is that the book reflects the author's biases, excluding some rather major authors in my view. Only a single, tangential reference to Robert B. Parker and authors like Laura Lippman, Michael Connelly, and Lawrence Block are not mentioned at all.
This is another excellent entry in the Modern Scholars lecture series. I highly recommend Prof. Alexander's lecture to any mystery fan with an interest in the development of the genre or who is seeking recommendations of works from previously unknown authors from the past and present.
I think I've read too many mysteries in my life. All I could think about while listening to this course was how many authors were not mentioned. Still there were a lot of insights here that I was interested to discover, some I'd noticed and others that I hadn't.
Not bad, not great either. Alexander presents an interesting survey of detective fiction, but really this is mostly just a series of summaries of some major detective ficiton writers. Overally worth the listen if you like detective fiction, worth a pass if you don't.
Can't recommend it. It seems like a catalogue of books and authors. Lots of categories and definitions. I feel like I should be taking notes for a quiz. In delivery,the narrator too often repeats the same phrase or sentence, as if losing her place.
I enjoyed this and found several new series to read, but I felt like it was more like a survey course of what's out there than an actual discussion of the literature.
A very thoughtful and thorough overview of the many styles of detective fiction. Many references to authors and significant works within the sub-genres.
Alexander was unprepared, unrehearsed, and repetitive. Nonetheless, the message managed to work its way through the garbled delivery.
14 lectures.
Melissa marked it as to-read
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Kevin Moore marked it as to-read
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Toni Demichelis-zuk marked it as to-read
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Mark Guenther marked it as to-read
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