Episodes

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

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…

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…

Brides In The Bath

Once is an accident. Twice is a coincidence. But three times? Three women dead in identical circumstances is highly suspicious. This is the story of the brides in the bath. Find links to all the books mentioned at shedunnitshow.com/bridesinthebath. Become a member of the Shedunnit book club and get bonus audio, listen to ad free… Continue reading…

Golden Age Detective Fiction (Words To That Effect)

Today, we have the final episode in my summer break guest series: ‘Golden Age Detective Fiction’ from Words To That Effect by Conor Reid. It first appeared on his feed in May 2019, and if you listen very closely you might recognise his interviewee. Find Words To That Effect at wttepodcast.com and in all good… Continue reading…

A Novel Remedy (The Allusionist)

Today on my summer break guest series, we have Helen Zaltzman of The Allusionist again (along with my husband Guy Cuthbertson) talking about the books we read to feel better when we’re ill — plenty of detective fiction, of course. This episode first appeared on Helen’s podcast in August 2018. Find The Allusionist at theallusionist.org… Continue reading…

Alter Ego (The Allusionist)

I’m taking a summer break from making the podcast, but I’ve roped in some friends to keep you entertained while I’m gone. Today, we have Helen Zaltzman of The Allusionist, with three pieces about alter egos in an episode that first appeared on her show in April 2019. Keep your ears peeled until the last… Continue reading…

The Lady Detective

Meet Maud West, a real life lady detective from the golden age of detective fiction who lived a very colourful life — as well as sleuthing, she liked to dress up as Charlie Chaplin and once threatened to shoot a ghost. But who was she, really? Find links to all the books mentioned and more… Continue reading…

Back To School

School is an enclosed world that breeds tension and suspicion and stress. No wonder it’s such a perfect setting for a murder mystery. Find links to all the books mentioned and more details about my guests at shedunnitshow.com/backtoschool. Become a member of the Shedunnit book club and get bonus audio, listen to ad free episodes… Continue reading…

Florence Maybrick II

Her trial gripped the nation and tested Britain’s legal system to the limit. But what happened to Florence Maybrick? This is the second of a two part story — listen to episode 16 first at shedunnitshow.com/florencemaybrick. Find links to further information and sources at shedunnitshow.com/florencemaybricktwo. Become a member of the Shedunnit book club and get… Continue reading…

On The Thames

The River Thames has always had a dark side. Its fast-flowing, tidal waters have long attracted those with something to hide. Find links to further reading and sources at shedunnitshow.com/onthethames. You can order my book about the Thames, The Way to the Sea, from Waterstones, Amazon or an independent bookshop. For international purchases, Amazon is… Continue reading…

Florence Maybrick I

A shipboard romance that somehow became one of the most notorious domestic poisoning cases in British history. This is the story of Florence Maybrick. Check back for part two of this story on 12 June. Find links to further information and sources at shedunnitshow.com/florencemaybrick. Become a member of the Shedunnit book club and get bonus… Continue reading…

15. Period Style

Murder mysteries: if you believe the clichés, they all happened in the 1920s and 1930s, surrounded by flappers and butlers.  But let’s take a second to wonder — why is it that detective fiction is so closely associated with this period style? Find more information about my guest Jacqueline Winspear and the Maisie Dobbs books… Continue reading…

Pseudonyms

Authors’ names loom large when we think about detective stories. Yet many of them are pseudonyms, created just to appear on book covers. But why go to all this trouble? And what makes a good pen name, anyway? Find more information about my guest Helen Fields / H.S. Chandler at her website helenfields.co.uk and get… Continue reading…

The Secret Life of Ngaio Marsh

By any definition, the New Zealand crime writer Ngaio Marsh lived an extraordinary life. But who was she really, this globetrotting blockbuster author who divided her life between opposite sides of the world? Find more information about my guest Joanne Drayton and links to the books discussed at shedunnitshow.com/ngaiomarsh. To be the first to know… Continue reading…

Round Robin

 Writing is usually a solitary pastime, yet a group of detective fiction authors in the early 1930s decided to work together on murder mystery stories. Is it possible to construct a compelling whodunnit this way, or do too many cooks spoil the broth? Fill out the audience survey and have your say in the… Continue reading…

The Other Detectives

Some sleuths need no introduction. But other characters, also created by famous authors like Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, lurk in obscurity. In this episode, we’re on the hunt for the other detectives. Find more information about this episode and links to the books discussed at shedunnitshow.com/theotherdetectives. The podcast is on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr… Continue reading…

Nurse Daniels

On 6 October 1926, a woman went into a cloakroom in Boulogne, France and never came out. She was never seen alive again. Her disappearance captivated the world, and even detective novelist Dorothy L. Sayers tried to solve the case. This is the story of Nurse Daniels. Find more information about this episode and links… Continue reading…

The Rules

A good detective story has a recognisable rhythm and plot points. But how did these tropes come about? And what happens when you break the rules? Find more information about this episode and links to the books discussed at shedunnitshow.com/therules. The podcast is on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram as @ShedunnitShow, and you can find… Continue reading…

Dining with Death

Food matters in books. It helps to set the scene, build up characters and evoke a period, and it also symbolises comfort, security and domesticity. Yet in detective fiction, food can also be a method for murder. Everything is lovely at the family dinner, until somebody clutches their throat, turns blue in the face, and… Continue reading…

Edith Thompson

 On the morning of 9 January 1923, a brutal and horrifying execution took place at Holloway Prison in London. The condemned young woman screamed and cried, but no last minute reprieve arrived. Long after she was dead, her story would inspire authors like James Joyce, E.M. Delafield, Dorothy L. Sayers and Sarah Waters, and… Continue reading…

Adaptations (with Sarah Phelps)

For many people, their main contact with detective fiction is via film and television adaptations. For a huge global audience, Agatha Christie’s work is as often watched as it is read. Any new production is greeted with intense scrutiny, so what is it really like to adapt these stories? Screenwriter Sarah Phelps, the woman behind the… Continue reading…

Crime at Christmas

Reading crime fiction from the early twentieth century is a really popular activity at Christmas. It’s nice to curl up with a good whodunnit by the fire, but if we stop and think about it, reading about complicated ways for people to die is not exactly the most festive thing to do. So why is… Continue reading…

The Lady Vanishes

 On 3 December 1926, Agatha Christie left her home in the southern English county of Berkshire just after 9.30 in the evening. She drove away, taking a small suitcase and a fur coat with her. The following morning, the car was found 15 miles away on the edge of a lake called Silent Pool.… Continue reading…

Queer Clues

The detective stories of the 1920s and 30s aren’t exactly well known for being edgy, or at the vanguard of the struggle for gay rights. But there are queer clues everywhere in these books, if you only know where to look for them. Find more information about this episode and links to the books discussed… Continue reading…

Crippen

The detective writers of the 1920s and 1930s weren’t working a vacuum. They took a keen interest in the crimes of their time, often weaving elements from actual murder cases into their plots or referencing them directly. And there was one case, a murder both infamous and domestic, that interested the likes of Agatha Christie,… Continue reading…

Surplus Women

After the First World War, there was a great flowering of female independence as more women chose to live single lives. This change, and the backlash to it, is all there to be found in the murder mysteries of the period, if you just dig a little below the surface. From self-contained, professional women like… Continue reading…

Whodunnit?

 For a couple of decades between the first and second world wars, something mysterious happened. A golden age of detective fiction dawned, and people around the world are still devouring books from this time by Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Margery Allingham, Anthony Berkeley, Gladys Mitchell, Ngaio Marsh, Josephine Tey and more. In this… Continue reading…