Author Archives: caroline

Queens of Crime at War

A six part mini series looking at what the best writers from the golden age of detective fiction did once that period came to an end with the start of the Second World War.

Episode 1: Agatha Christie Writes Alone

Agatha Christie had a very productive WW2.

Agatha Christie Writes Alone (Queens of Crime At War 1)

Agatha Christie had a very productive WW2. This is the start of Queens of Crime at War, a six part series looking at what the best writers from the golden age of detective fiction did once that period came to an end with the start of the Second World War. This episode also marks the… Continue Reading

Agatha Christie Writes Alone Transcript (Queens of Crime At War 1)

Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. This is the start of Queens of Crime at War, a series looking at what the best writers from the golden age of detective fiction did once that period came to an end with the start of the Second World War in 1939. There are six episodes, each… Continue Reading

At Home With Shedunnit Transcript

 Guy: Hello. Welcome to Shedunnit. My name is Guy Cuthbertson. I am husband of Caroline Crampton and I am going to be interviewing Caroline today because this is a special episode, celebrating the fact that Shedunnit is reaching its third birthday.  So we’re going to be talking about three years of making this wonderful… Continue Reading

At Home With Shedunnit

 Who would be the Hastings to your Poirot? What kind of mystery would you like to write? What would you do if you came across a corpse? In this special episode to celebrate Shedunnit’s third anniversary, Caroline’s husband Guy takes the mic and asks her all these questions and more. Guy is on Twitter… Continue Reading

Double Trouble Transcript

Caroline: A good mystery is a contest between writer and reader. If observing the conventions of fair play that were popular in the 1920s and 1930s, the writer must be transparent with the reader about clues and suspects. No springing an unlikely murderer on the reader at the eleventh hour is allowed. But at the… Continue Reading

Double Trouble

What happens when two people write a whodunnit together? Thanks to my guests, Cordelia Biddle and Steve Zettler. They write separately under their own names and together under the pseudonym Nero Blanc. The whole Crossword Mysteries series can be found at crosswordmysteries.com, where there are links to buy each title. There are no spoilers in… Continue Reading

The Theatrical World of Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie was the most successful female playwright of all time. She also wrote some detective novels you might have heard of. Julius Green is the author of Agatha Christie: A Life in Theatre, available in paperback now at all good booksellers. You can catch him at the International Agatha Christie Festival in Torquay on… Continue Reading

The Theatrical World of Agatha Christie Transcript

Caroline: Agatha Christie is a very well known writer, to put it mildly. Her novels and short stories have been translated into dozens of languages, she’s a household name all over the world, and her books are still selling in their millions nearly half a century after her death. Her characters are forever being reincarnated… Continue Reading

Murder On Holiday (Replay)

This summer, you can still travel to the murderous destinations visited by your favourite detectives. While I take a holiday myself, please enjoy this classic episode of Shedunnit. First aired in July 2020, it’s all about how and why golden age sleuths solve mysteries while away from home. My new map and guide, Agatha Christie’s England,… Continue Reading

Is Agatha Christie A Good Writer? Transcript

Caroline: Since you’re listening to this podcast, I feel fairly confident in saying that you think Agatha Christie wrote some good books. There’s a high probability that you decided to listen to me talking about detective fiction because you have, at some point, enjoyed a novel by the so called Queen of Crime. But just… Continue Reading

Is Agatha Christie A Good Writer?

Her plots are second to none. But is the Queen of Crime a true literary great? Thanks to my guest, Sophie Hannah. Her latest Poirot continuation novel is The Killings at Kingfisher Hill and is available from all good booksellers. Find out more about all of her books at sophiehannah.com and follow her on Twitter… Continue Reading

The Murder At Road Hill House Transcript

Caroline: If there is, then you might have come down with a case of detective fever. According to Wilkie Collins’s 1868 novel The Moonstone, these were the symptoms — along with a sudden passion for seeking out knowledge and gathering clues. This story was a popular early appearance of detection as we know it today in… Continue Reading

The Murder At Road Hill House

This sensational case from 1860 ignited a wave of detective fever that we still haven’t recovered from. Thanks to my guest Robin Stevens — you can hear her on two previous episodes of the show, Back to School and Death Sets Sail on the Nile, and her new collection of short stories about schoolgirl detectives Hazel… Continue Reading

Agatha Christie’s England

Where is St Mary Mead, anyway? My guide to Agatha Christie’s England is now available to pre-order from the publisher at shedunnitshow.com/map (ships 19th July 2021). It’s also available to order from Amazon, Waterstones, Blackwell’s and other booksellers. An audio version is available for purchase at shedunnitshow.com/audiomap (if you are entitled to a free copy… Continue Reading

Agatha Christie’s England Transcript

Caroline: When you close your eyes and imagine the setting of an Agatha Christie story, what do you see? A grand country house, perhaps, or an idyllic English village complete with its own spinster sleuth. For all that the Queen of Crime is lauded for her plots, she deserves praise for her settings, too. Beyond… Continue Reading

Young Sleuths Transcript

Caroline: I can’t remember how old I was when I read my first detective novel, but I definitely wasn’t a teenager yet. I devoured my first Agatha Christie — the Miss Marple short story collection The Thirteen Problems — under the covers on a family holiday when I was 11 after finding it on the shelf at… Continue Reading

Young Sleuths

Young detectives, and young readers, play an important part in the history of detective fiction. Many thanks to my guest, Maureen Johnson. Her newest YA mystery, The Box in the Woods, is out now. Find out more at her website www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com and follow her on Twitter @maureenjohnson. There are no major plot spoilers in this… Continue Reading

Golden Age Inspiration

 How do you write a 1920s style detective novel that’s set in the 2020s? Thanks to Elly Griffiths, aka Domenica De Rosa, for joining me today to talk about her love of golden age crime fiction and how she put that into her award winning novel The Postscript Murders. She also writes the Ruth… Continue Reading

Golden Age Inspiration Transcript

Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. Golden age detective fiction is having a bit of a moment. Over the last few years, there’s been a resurgence of interest in crime fiction from the 1920s, 30s and 40s, with hard to obtain titles receiving new editions and new TV and film adaptations in the works.… Continue Reading

Policing the Detectives Transcript

Caroline: Is detective fiction an escapist genre? The marketing for today’s thrillers and cosy mysteries that encourages us to “get away from the real world” for a while by reading about fictional crimes would suggest that it is. Expecting to be soothed by plots that centre on violent death might sound counter intuitive, but it… Continue Reading

Policing the Detectives

 Is it possible to write a whodunnit and leave out the police? Many thanks to my guest, Nicole Glover. More information about her work is available at nicole-glover.com, and her first book, The Conductors, is out now in the US and the UK. The inspiration for this episode was Nicole’s article “Who Are You… Continue Reading

A Century of Whodunnits Transcript

 Something I love about making this podcast is the space it provides for me to zoom right in. I can dedicate a whole episode to a single trope from classic detective fiction, whether that’s tropes like “the butler did it” or settings like “on a boat”. I’ve narrowed the focus even further by putting… Continue Reading

A Century of Whodunnits

 Reading through the twentieth century, one murder mystery at a time. There are no major spoilers in this episode, but the opening plot scenario of each book is discussed briefly. There is a major spoiler for the Sherlock Holmes story “The Final Problem” from 1893. The ten books I read for this episode are:… Continue Reading

Swan Song

How do you say goodbye to a beloved detective? Agatha Christie, of course, made a mystery out of it. Thanks to my guest, Mark Aldridge. You can find out more about his work at markaldridge.info and order a copy of his new book, Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World, from all good… Continue Reading

Swan Song Transcript

Caroline: Detectives have to be fundamentally infallible. On their journey to a mystery’s solution they can be fragile, or flawed, or unreliable, or uncertain, but the reader has to be able to rely on the sleuth to find a satisfactory answer in the end. It’s a fundamental part of what makes a whodunnit work. After… Continue Reading

The Many Afterlives of Hercule Poirot

There aren’t many characters who are recognisable just from a silhouette, but Hercule Poirot is one of them. Thanks to my guest, Mark Aldridge. You can find out more about his work at markaldridge.info and order a copy of his new book, Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World, from all good booksellers.… Continue Reading

The Many Afterlives of Hercule Poirot Transcript

Caroline: There aren’t many characters who are recognisable just from a silhouette, but Hercule Poirot is one of them. The beloved Belgian detective made his first appearance in The Mysterious Affair At Styles a hundred years ago, and today it seems impossible to remember a time when he wasn’t a ubiquitous part of pop culture.… Continue Reading

Cryptic Crimes Transcript

Caroline: Classic detective fiction has rules. Codified as the genre grew in popularity in the 1920s and early 30s, these conventions mostly feed into the idea of “fair play” between author and reader. The art of writing a good murder mystery, then, is sticking to this framework while also subverting it. There’s a great skill… Continue Reading

Cryptic Crimes

If you can solve a crossword, you can solve a murder. Thanks to my guest, Hamish Symington. You can find out more about his work at hamishsymington.com and order a custom cryptic crossword from him at customcrypticcrosswords.com. There are no major spoilers about clues or endings in this episode. However, there is some mention or… Continue Reading

The Honkaku Mysteries Transcript

Caroline: It’s over a hundred years now since the golden age of detective fiction began in Britain. Some writers who were key to the popularity of the whodunnit between the two world wars are still household names in the UK and the US today — Agatha Christie, of course, but the likes of Dorothy L. Sayers,… Continue Reading

The Honkaku Mysteries

 Exploring the thriving tradition of classic Japanese whodunnits. Thanks to my guests, On Nomoto, grandson of honkaku writer Seishi Yokomizo, and Daniel Seton, commissioning editor at Pushkin Press. No major spoilers about clues or endings in this episode. However, there is some mention or discussion of the books listed below. Sources and further information: — The… Continue Reading

The First Whodunnit Transcript

Caroline: The world of detective fiction has recently passed an important milestone. It’s a hundred years since the appearance of Agatha Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. First serialised in the London Times in 1920, it appeared in book form first in the US at the end of that year and then in… Continue Reading

The First Whodunnit

What was the first murder mystery, really? No major spoilers about clues or endings in this episode. However, there is some mention or discussion of the books listed below. Sources and further information: — The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie — Partners In Crime by Agatha Christie — A Study In Scarlet by… Continue Reading

The People’s Pathologist

 Before there was CSI, there was Bernard Spilsbury. No major spoilers about clues or endings in this episode. However, there is some mention or discussion of the books listed below. Please be aware there is a brief mention of suicide at the end. Sources and further information: — The Florence Maybrick episodes of this… Continue Reading

The People’s Pathologist Transcript

The murder mystery is a form that brings forth certainty from uncertainty. The job of the detective is to sort through the chaotic mass of clues and testimony to create an ordered, coherent narrative of how a crime was committed. Medical evidence forms a vital part of this process, often creating the parameters for a… Continue Reading

Poison Pen

Nothing could bad could possibly happen here, the inhabitants of the peaceful English village say to each other. Until the first poison pen letter arrives. No major spoilers about clues or endings in this episode. However, there is some mention or discussion of the books listed below. Also, be aware there is a very brief… Continue Reading

Poison Pen Transcript

The peaceful English village is the heart of so many classic crime stories that it’s really a character in itself. Especially pre 1945, a village can be the world in miniature, with its own class hierarchy and rumour mill. And most importantly, a sleepy country village comes with an expectation of calm and of untroubled… Continue Reading

A Christie for Christmas Transcript

Caroline: Like a lot of people, I’ve really struggled with reading this year. Whereas once the words just seemed to flow off the page and straight into my brain, now a connection has broken somewhere. I’ve been distracted and anxious, picking up books that I think will suit my mood and then putting them down… Continue Reading

A Christie for Christmas

 The original golden age of detective fiction in the 1920s followed on from a devastating global pandemic. Is it any wonder, then, that we’ve read so much crime fiction in 2020? And why do we find murder mysteries a comforting choice for Christmas? This festive season if you’d like to support the podcast and… Continue Reading

The Christie Completists Transcript

 Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. I talk a lot on this show about the work of Agatha Christie. I mean, how could I not? She’s the best known writer of whodunnits and published her first book in 1920, right around the beginning of the period known as the golden Age of detective… Continue Reading

The Christie Completists

 I’ve read a lot of Agatha Christie, but I’ve never read all of her books in order. What insights are there to be had by doing so? Christie completists Catherine Brobeck and Kemper Donovan of the All About Agatha podcast join me to talk about the Queen of Crime’s clever way with characters, the… Continue Reading

Spoiler Warning (No Spoilers)

Is it still worth reading a whodunnit if you know… who done it? Thanks to my guests Jim Noy of The Invisible Event and Kate Jackson of Cross Examining Crime. Jim is on Twitter @invisible_event and Kate is @ArmchairSleuth. Thank you to everyone who supported the Shedunnit Pledge Drive, we did it! You can still… Continue Reading

Spoiler Warning Transcript

Caroline: It can come at any time, the revelation that ruins everything. Maybe you’re scrolling through social media. Perhaps you’re idly chatting with a friend who has a similar taste in books. You might even be reading a different novel or story when you chance across a reference to the plot of another work that… Continue Reading

Death Sets Sail On The Nile Transcript

NB: There is some discussion of the plot of both Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie and Death Sets Sail by Robin Stevens in this episode, but no major plot points are revealed. Caroline: So we’re here today to talk about Death on the Nile, which was first published in 1937. It’s the story… Continue Reading

Death Sets Sail On The Nile

 To get to the bottom of why the Nile is a murder mystery location that has bewitched readers for decades, I decided to talk to an author who has just published an Egypt based whodunnit: Robin Stevens. We talk about how she finalised the plot of Death Sets Sail  while on a Nile cruise, what… Continue Reading

Peace At Last

The day the First World War ended, 11 November 1918, marked the beginning of a new era in which detective fiction would flourish. How did Britain go from “peace at last” to “whodunnit”? Thanks to my guest (and husband) Guy Cuthbertson. His book about Armistice Day is Peace At Last and he’s on Twitter as… Continue Reading

Peace At Last Transcript

Caroline: It was the bells that let lots of people in Britain know that the First World War was over. They had been silent for months on end, but on 11 November 1918 makeshift crews of ringers returned to their belfries, producing peals that made people stop in the streets and ask each other: “Is… Continue Reading

The Butler Did It Transcript

Here’s a riddle that you might find in a detective story: which character is ubiquitous yet invisible? Vital yet overlooked? At the country house party, he’s never out of sight, yet nobody ever really sees him. The answer, of course, is the butler. Always in the background, anticipating the guests’ every need before they can… Continue Reading

The Butler Did It

Snobbery and murder, all served up perfectly for you on a silver tray. This episode marks the start of the Shedunnit Pledge Drive! If I can add 100 new members to the Shedunnit Book Club by the end of 2020, I can start releasing episodes more regularly and expanding what the podcast covers. If you’d… Continue Reading