Tag Archives: Anthony Berkeley

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 podcast: part one and part two
Taylor’s Principles and Practice of Medical Jurisprudence by Alfred Swaine Taylor
Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers
The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley
The Red Thumb Mark by R. Austin Freeman
The Crippen episode of this podcast
The Father of Forensics: How Sir Bernard Spilsbury Invented Modern CSI by Colin Evans
Trial Of Thomas Smethurst”, British Medical Journal, August 27, 1859
“The Case of Thomas Smethurst, Convicted of the Crime of Murder”, The Lancet, September 1859
The Magnificent Spilsbury and the Case of the Brides in the Bath by Jane Robbins
The “Brides in the Bath” episode of this podcast
Bernard Spilsbury’s index cards at the Wellcome Collection
Some Cases of Sir Bernard Spilsbury and Others : Death Under The Microscope by Harold Dearden
Bernard Spilsbury: His Life and Cases by Douglas G. Browne and E.V. Tullett
“The rise and fall of celebrity pathology” by Ian Burney and Neil Pemberton in the British Medical Journal, December 2010
“Bruised Witness: Bernard Spilsbury and the Performance of Early Twentieth-Century English Forensic Pathology” in Medical History, January 2011

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Find a full transcript of this episode at shedunnitshow.com/thepeoplespathologisttranscript.

Music by Audioblocks and Blue Dot Sessions. See shedunnitshow.com/musiccredits for more details.

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

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

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

Round Robin Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the twelfth episode of Shedunnit. Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: Writing is a solitary pastime. To invent the characters and stories that readers love, most authors have to lock themselves away from the world, avoiding company and interruptions until the blank page is… 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

Edith Thompson Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of the seventh episode of Shedunnit. Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: 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. Just… 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

Crippen Transcript

 Here’s a full transcript of the second episode of Shedunnit.  Click here to listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: A classic murder mystery is a closed circle. It’s why settings like trains, islands and country houses are so popular in the detective stories of the 1920s and 30s. They naturally limit and… 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

Whodunnit? Transcript

Here’s a full transcript of this mini first episode of Shedunnit.  Listen to it now in your app of choice. Caroline: For a couple of decades between the first and second world wars, something mysterious happened. Many things, actually — there were murders in country houses, on golf courses, in Oxford colleges, on trains, in vicarages, in far… 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