Author Archives: caroline

The Lifelong Fan

Renée read her first detective novel in the 1930s. She hasn’t stopped since. Special thanks to my guest Renée. Her first crime novel is The Wild Card. Become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club and get bonus audio, listen to ad free episodes and join a book-loving community at shedunnitshow.com/bookclub. Books and sources: —These… Continue Reading

The Detection Club

 It started with dinner and ended with a group of crime writers swearing an oath on a skull. Special thanks to my guest Martin Edwards. His latest novel is Mortmain Hall and he’s on Twitter as @medwardsbooks. Become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club and get bonus audio, listen to ad free episodes… Continue Reading

The Detection Club Transcript

Caroline: Writing can be a lonely profession. Once a book or story exists, it can be a highly sociable thing — the author is interviewed about it, appears at events, and these days can always be available to talk to their readers online. But the period of creation is one of solitude. Just you and the… Continue Reading

A Room of One’s Own Transcript

Caroline: In October 1928, the novelist Virginia Woolf gave two lectures to literary societies at women’s colleges at Cambridge University. Her subject was women and fiction, and she ranged throughout history to build up her case for how for centuries structural inequality had systematically excluded half the population from literary work. The lectures were later… Continue Reading

A Room of One’s Own

 If a woman needs a room of her own and £500 a year to write fiction, what does she need in order to write crime fiction? Special thanks to my guest Francesca Wade. Her book is Square Haunting: Five Women, Freedom and London Between the Wars. She’s on Twitter @francescawade. Become a member of… Continue Reading

Murder On Holiday

This summer, you can still travel to the murderous destinations visited by your favourite detectives. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/murderonholiday. Become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club and get bonus audio, listen to ad free episodes and join a book-loving community at shedunnitshow.com/bookclub. Books and sources: —Have His… Continue Reading

Murder On Holiday Transcript

Music Through the long winter months and the interminable drizzle of a British spring, we look forward to our summer holidays. Whether they involve a flight to a far off destination or a quick drive to a homegrown seaside resort, those few days in July or August mark a pleasurable pause in the year, a… Continue Reading

E.C.R. Lorac Transcript

Caroline: There are a few names that come up a lot in relation to the so called golden age of detective fiction. Agatha Christie, of course, but Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, Gladys Mitchell, Josephine Tey and Ngaio Marsh are also all writers who are more or less associated with that great flourishing of crime… Continue Reading

E.C.R. Lorac

 She wrote over 70 detective novels and won the praise of that most stern of critics, Dorothy L. Sayers. Yet golden age author E.C.R. Lorac is now a mystery to most modern crime fiction fans. What happened? Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/ecrlorac. Special thanks to my guest Sarah… Continue Reading

Mary Westmacott

Sometimes, Agatha Christie didn’t want to be Agatha Christie. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/marywestmacott. Become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club and get bonus audio, listen to ad free episodes and join a book-loving community at shedunnitshow.com/bookclub. Books and sources: —The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie… Continue Reading

Mary Westmacott Transcript

Music In 1930, any serious fan of detective fiction would have been able to tell you that Agatha   Christie published just the one novel that year — The Murder at the Vicarage. This was a significant one for her, a step up in her already successful writing career. It was both the first full length… Continue Reading

Dorothy’s Secret Transcript

Caroline: Dorothy L. Sayers is well known for many things: as a writer, a translator, a playwright, a theologian, and a feminist. She was among the first women to receive a degree from Oxford University. Her work in setting up the Detection Club and her reviews of other authors’ work in the genre were crucial… Continue Reading

Dorothy’s Secret

There was one thing that Dorothy L. Sayers never told anyone. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/dorothyssecret. Resources, donation links and diverse crime fiction suggestions are at shedunnitshow.com/blacklivesmatter. Become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club and get bonus audio, listen to ad free episodes and join a book-loving community… Continue Reading

Black Lives Matter Resources

Here are a few places you can show your support for the Black Lives Matter movement, by reading, donating, and choosing diverse crime fiction. This is a comprehensive and very useful document listing books, podcast episodes, films and other media that can help you learn more about the anti racist movement. Donate to Black Lives… Continue Reading

Cui Bono? Transcript

Picture the scene. A wealthy elderly person lies dead, obviously murdered. Their sumptuous mansion is filled to the rafters with expensive assets. Around every corner is a family member or neighbour with some financial tie to the deceased and seemingly no alibi for the time of the crime. What’s the first thing an intelligent sleuth… Continue Reading

Cui Bono?

It’s not who, or how, but why. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/cuibono. Become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club and get bonus audio, listen to ad free episodes and join a book-loving community at shedunnitshow.com/bookclub. Books and sources: —Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers —Heir Presumptive by Henry… Continue Reading

The Collectors Transcript

Caroline: For some readers , whodunnits are transient, disposable things. Once you’ve read a murder mystery once, there’s no point keeping it or reading it again, according to this school of thought. You already know who did it, and there’s little use in   cluttering up your shelves with books that are now redundant. But… Continue Reading

The Collectors

The perfect collection is never complete. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/thecollectors. Become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club and get bonus audio, listen to ad free episodes and join a book-loving community at shedunnitshow.com/bookclub. Support the podcast and get a free audiobook by signing up for a free… Continue Reading

Bedside Manner

Is that smiling nurse in the pristine white cap here to save your life, or to bring it to an untimely end? Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/bedsidemanner. Become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club and get bonus audio, listen to ad free episodes and join a book-loving community… Continue Reading

Bedside Manner Transcript

Caroline: Detective fiction works best when there are rigid structures that can be obeyed, subverted or undermined. The closed circle of suspects, the unbreakable alibi, the pact to play fair by the reader — all of these restrictions help to stimulate writers’ creativity. The presence of certain archetypal characters is part of this too, especially… Continue Reading

The Hay Poisoner Transcript

 Caroline: On 26 October 1921, a solicitor named Oswald Martin went to have tea with a fellow lawyer named Herbert Armstrong. The two worked for rival law firms in the town of Hay on Wye, which lies on the border between England and Wales. They were currently representing opposite sides in a local property… Continue Reading

The Hay Poisoner

All the best murder mysteries start with a scone laced with arsenic. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/thehaypoisoner. Become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club and get bonus audio, listen to ad free episodes and join a book-loving community at shedunnitshow.com/bookclub. Books and sources: —The Golden Age of Murder… Continue Reading

The Dispenser

There’s a reason why Agatha Christie knew so much about poisons. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/thedispenser. Thanks to today’s sponsor, Best Fiends. You can download Best Fiends free on the Apple App Store or Google Play. Become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club and get bonus audio, listen… Continue Reading

The Dispenser Transcript

Caroline: Agatha Christie received a lot of accolades during her long writing career. She had fans all over the world, her books sold thousands upon thousands of copies and (mostly) received good reviews, and in 1971 she was made a Dame by the Queen for her services for literature. But one of her most prized… Continue Reading

Happily Ever After

What would Peter Wimsey be without Harriet Vane? Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/happilyeverafter. Thanks to today’s sponsor, Best Fiends. You can download Best Fiends free on the Apple App Store or Google Play. Become a member of the Shedunnit book club and get bonus audio, listen to ad free… Continue Reading

Happily Ever After Transcript

To download the mp3 of this episode click here. Caroline: When you boil it down to the essentials, a detective barely needs to be a human being. The plot of a really great whodunnit demands only that the sleuthing entity observe, analyse, deduce and denounce. A thinking machine with a clear input and output that governs… Continue Reading

All At Sea Transcript

To download the mp3 of this episode click here. Caroline: When constructing a plot for a detective novel, nothing matters more than boundaries. It’s vital to know where the edges of the world will be, and who will be allowed to come in and out once the mystery is in progress. After all, it’s no… Continue Reading

All At Sea

What could be a better place for a murder than a boat, out at sea? Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/allatsea. Get a copy of my book, The Way to the Sea, from Blackwell’s here or request it at your local bookshop or library. Thanks to today’s sponsor, Best Fiends.… Continue Reading

The Pale Horse Transcript

To download the mp3 of this episode click here. A friendly warning: there are major spoilers for The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie in this episode. Music. Caroline: I think we’re all quite comfortable with the idea of real life events inspiring fiction — it’s not for nothing that some of the most critically acclaimed… Continue Reading

The Pale Horse

To download the mp3 of this episode click here. How Agatha Christie’s spooky story inspired real life murderers and detectives. A friendly warning: there are major spoilers for The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie in this episode. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/thepalehorse. Special thanks today to my guests Kathryn… Continue Reading

The Great Gladys Transcript

To download the mp3 of this episode click here. Caroline: There’s a tendency sometimes to think of detective fiction from the early twentieth century as “cosy”. In fact, in some countries the phrase “cozy mystery” even serves as a semi-official subgenre of crime writing — especially in America where it is defined against the so-called… Continue Reading

The Great Gladys

On Philip Larkin, a reptilian sleuth with a mellifluous voice, and a small amount of witchcraft. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/thegreatgladys. Special thanks today to my guest Lee Randall. You can follow her on Twitter @randallwrites and read her writing about Gladys Mitchell here. Thanks also to today’s sponsor,… Continue Reading

Teaching Sleuthing

Detective fiction has always been regarded as a lesser kind of literature. So how do you teach it in a university? Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/teachingsleuthing. Special thanks today to my guest Dr Victoria Stewart. You can follow her on Twitter @verbivorial and order her book Crime Writing in… Continue Reading

Teaching Sleuthing Transcript

Caroline: In 1945, the American critic Edmund Wilson published a series of three essays deploring detective fiction as written by Agatha Christie, Rex Stout and Dorothy L. Sayers as of little value. In the second essay, which was titled “Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?” as a direct dig at Christie’s bestselling whodunnit from 1926,… Continue Reading

Victorian Pioneers

Decades before Miss Marple, there were Victorian lady sleuths taking on the world with their bloomers and their bicycles. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/victorianpioneers. Special thanks today to my guest Olivia Rutigliano. You can follow her on Twitter @oldrutigliano and reader her recent article for Lapham’s Quarterly “The Lady… Continue Reading

Victorian Pioneers Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the twenty-ninth episode of Shedunnit Click to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: Before there was Miss Marple, Mrs Bradley or Harriet Vane, there was Amelia Butterworth, Dorcas Dene and Loveday Brooke. Although Victorian detective fiction is most associated with a male character that tends to… Continue Reading

Let It Snow Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the twenty-eighth episode of Shedunnit Click to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: The days are drawing in. Darkness falls mid afternoon. The light and warmth inside only emphasises quite how icily cold it is out. At first, the snow is a cheery accompaniment to a festive… Continue Reading

Let It Snow

Snow is a very powerful tool for a detective novelist. It can create a sinister atmosphere, keep suspects and murderer stormbound, and preserve the footprints of anyone who dares to escape. What could be more seasonal or festive than that? Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/letitsnow. Order your Shedunnit pin… Continue Reading

Competent Women Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the twenty-seventh episode of Shedunnit Click to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: Detective novelists have always been loyal to their sleuths. Some, like Gladys Mitchell, created a character and devotedly returned to them again and again. Other authors, like Dorothy L. Sayers, had a main… Continue Reading

Competent Women

Anne Bedingfield, Emily Trefusis, Lucy Eyelesbarrow: why is it that Agatha Christie’s adventurous, highly competent young women never get to become recurring sleuths? Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/competentwomen. Order your Shedunnit pin badge and Christmas gift bundle at shedunnitshow.com/shop. Become a member of the Shedunnit book club and get… Continue Reading

Notable Trials

How did a legal history series become so well known that even Lord Peter Wimsey owned a set? Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/notabletrials. Special thanks today to my guest Dr Victoria Stewart. You can follow her on Twitter @verbivorial and order her book Crime Writing in Interwar Britain: Fact… Continue Reading

Notable Trials Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the twenty-sixth episode of Shedunnit Click to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: Towards the end of Dorothy L. Sayers’s 1930 novel Strong Poison, her sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey is feeling stumped. He’s tackled a tricky poisoning case with all the verve and enthusiasm that readers… Continue Reading

The Mutual Admiration Society Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the twenty-fifth episode of Shedunnit. Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: One chilly night in November 1912, a group of young women gathered together to share their writing with each other. They were all newly arrived first year students at Somerville College in… Continue Reading

The Mutual Admiration Society

One chilly night in November 1912, a group of young women gathered together to share their writing with each other. From that meeting, we got Peter Wimsey, Harriet Vane, and so much more besides. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/mas. Special thanks today to my guest Mo Moulton, you can… Continue Reading

Enter The Watson Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the twenty-fourth episode of Shedunnit. Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: There’s a moment in Agatha Christie’s 1964 novel A Caribbean Mystery that I think about a lot. Miss Marple, generously sent on a luxury winter holiday to the island of St Honoré… Continue Reading

Enter The Watson

The detective’s sidekick is a fundamental building block of the classic whodunnit. But they don’t often get full credit for the vital role they play in solving mysteries. Until now, that is. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/sidekicks. Buy tickets to the first-ever Shedunnit live shows at shedunnitshow.com/events — I’ll… Continue Reading

Off The Rails

There’s something so linear and definite about a train journey — it can only take you from A to B, with no possible deviations. Except when murder intervenes, and throws everything off the rails. Find links to all the books mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/offtherails. Buy tickets to the first-ever Shedunnit live shows at shedunnitshow.com/events — I’ll be… Continue Reading

Off The Rails Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the twenty-third episode of Shedunnit. Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. [Train sound effect] Caroline: It’s an iconic mystery setting, almost to the point of cliche, reproduced in lovingly nostalgic detail in films and TV adaptations. The panelled walls of polished wood, deep carpets,… Continue Reading

Knock Knock Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the twenty-first episode of Shedunnit. Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: Even the best detectives get stuck during their cases. The alibis are overlapping, the witnesses are contradicting themselves, and the medical evidence isn’t making anything clearer. As readers of whodunnits, as confused… Continue Reading

Knock Knock

Even the best detectives get stuck during their cases. Wouldn’t sleuthing be so much easier if the dead could speak to the living? Find links to all the books mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/knockknock. Become a member of the Shedunnit book club and get bonus audio, listen to ad free episodes and join a book-loving community at… Continue Reading