The best way to relax

Posted by Tory Historian Wednesday, December 29, 2010 , ,

It has been said that the 1920s and 1930s were the Golden Age of the detective story. Tory Historian has always found that rather hard to accept as all too many of those novels are either completely unreadable or utterly preposterous, such as the adventures of Colonel Gore.

The same period may be said to be the Golden Age of the essay, short, long or full-volume length as H. Douglas Thomson's Masters of Mystery is. Mr Thomson also edited a collection of Mysteries in 1934, which included every well known name and some rather unexpected ones. Mr Thomson writes with a ponderous and elaborate with that is very much of the period but one that many a literary undergraduate has attempted then and since. If the reader can get beyond that, there is a good deal of interesting information and acute analysis in the book.

The epitaph to the volume is a quotation by Lord Balfour, the Conservative politician:
Overwork means undue congestion of certain lobes of the brain. In order to draw the blood from these lobes, other contiguous lobes must be stimulated. A week in the country merely means that you brood on your work. Detective novels act like iodine on a gum and serve as counter-irritant.
Tory Historian has to admit that the pseudo-medical explanation is not very impressive but any excuse to read detective stories is a good thing.


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