Author Archives: caroline

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

The Psychology of Anthony Berkeley

 He was one of the most influential crime novelists of the 1920s and 1930s, but has languished somewhat in obscurity since. A troubled, dark, incredibly innovative writer: to really get to know Anthony Berkeley, you need to dive deeply into his fiction. Thanks to my guest Martin Edwards. His latest novel is Mortmain Hall… Continue Reading

The Psychology of Anthony Berkeley Transcript

 Caroline: The writers of detective stories can be as much of a mystery as the plots they create. During the 1920s and 30s, this attitude was especially prevalent. Some authors, grudgingly or not, accepted the publicity duties that often go with literary success — Dorothy L. Sayers, with her day job in advertising, was even… Continue Reading

The Telephone Call

 Why has the murder of Julia Wallace on the night of 20 January 1931 haunted detective novelists for decades? Well, it all comes back to the telephone call. 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… Continue Reading

The Telephone Call Transcript

 The most sinister and disturbing crimes bloom from moments so mundane that they’re barely noticeable. A spontaneous break in a long held routine, a friendly smile to a stranger, a spur of the moment decision on a warm evening to take the long way home: those are the points where the splinters of tragedy… Continue Reading

Locked Room

A body is found in a sealed chamber, definitely murdered, but there is no way the culprit can have got in or out. How was it done? Special thanks to my guest Jim Noy. He writes about detective fiction at theinvisibleevent.com, makes a podcast called In GAD We Trust, and once compiled a useful list… Continue Reading

Locked Room Transcript

Caroline: The line between crime fiction and the supernatural can get a little blurry at times. Although the “rules” of fair play in detective fiction popular in the 1920s and 30s prohibited the inclusion of ghosts, demons, and other paranormal phenomena, writers still enjoyed teasing their readers with murder scenarios that, at first glance, appeared… Continue Reading

The Lifelong Fan Transcript

Music Caroline: With detective novels from the 1920s or 1930s, I’m always conscious of the distance between when it was written and when I’m reading it. Not that I think you need to be immersed in the historical context to enjoy a murder mystery, that’s not it at all. Part of what makes these stories… Continue Reading

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