The "Golden Age of Detective Fiction" is said to have been coined by John Strachey in The Saturday Review in 1939, referring to the years between the world wars when the great names of detective fiction were in their prime. Several years ago, I became concerned that I was running out of titles to read in my favorite genre, Golden Age Mysteries. Fortunately, with the advent of Amazon and boutique publishers like Murder & Mayhem and Poisoned Pen Press, the works of many other Golden Age authors became available. I was truly astounded to find that there had been over 150 mystery writers active at the time.
So the purpose of this site is to provide a comprehensive list of primarily British mystery writers from the Golden Age of Mystery, approximately 1920-1940. It is difficult to understand how successful writers, some of whom were household names during the period, could be virtually unknown today. Another focus is to highlight the works of lesser known female writers, usually using male pen names and who at the time had few outlets to earn incomes competitive with their male counterparts other than writing
The authors are listed in order of the host's personal preference and/or discovery although some of the authors have been out of print for years and are only now known through ebooks. If an author is not found on Amazon an alternative source will be noted.
Comments are this writer's own and are by no means meant to be definitive. There were many writers active during this period and one of the purposes of this site is to provide a platform for "new" writers of that era to be discovered. For an even more comprehensive list see 150 Favorite Golden Age British Detective Novels by Curt Evans. He did it first and probably better.
The study of the Golden Age of Mystery should begin with two books written by Martin Edwards, The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books, and The Golden Age of Murder. The first is a compilation of the most significant works in the many styles and sub-genres of mysteries extant at the time. The second is a history of the Detection Club founded by Anthony Berkeley in 1930 to recognize the (admittedly self selected) world's best mystery writers. The two taken together are as complete an analysis of the Golden Age as is possible. The study of the output of 150+ authors some writing as many as 70 books creates a difficult task. Edwards, who is himself an accomplished mystery author, has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the subject. I highly recommend both of these books to serious students of the Golden Age of Mystery.