The Modern Scholar: Detective Fiction

  • by M. Lee Alexander
  • Narrated by M. Lee Alexander
  • 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

From mysterious origins through the Victorian sleuths and the "Golden Age" of the genre (the 1920s through the 1940s) and to the present day, detective fiction, mysteries, and spy thrillers have consistently topped best-seller lists around the world.
Professor M. Lee Alexander provides listeners with a lively discussion of groundbreaking authors from Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle to Agatha Christie, Ian Fleming, and modern writers such as Nevada Barr and Jonathan Kellerman.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Badly directed overview of dective fiction

The Modern Scholar series normally provides a wonderful listen because of the academic analysis in easy to understand English. Generally, the professor herself does the reading. Though professors are clearly not professional narrators, the content usually more than compensates for this deficiency. Not this time, however. It takes M. Lee Alexander until chapter 11 before her narration comes up to speed, without far too long pauses on the wrong moments, slips of the tongue that were not edited out, starting every other sentence with 'And', combined with 'so' in the other half of the sentences. In short: the direction and editing is not up to standard and really distract from the content. Although you don't need to buy this audio book if you are looking for an in depth scholarly analysis of detective fiction. 90% of the audio book is taken up by spelling out the content of detective novels and short stories. Categories such as cosy, hard-boiled and international will not make you see detective fiction in exiting new ways. Buy it if you are looking for a very good overview of English language detectives to put on your reading list. Do not buy it if you are interested in exiting new academic insights with respect to detective fiction. And certainly don't buy it if you are easily distracted by bad narration.
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- Esmeralda

Depends on What You Want

There's a lot of information in this set of lectures. It offers an exhaustive list of writers and their works throughout the history of the mystery genre. However, there's not much of critical analysis or insight about authors or books. If you want and expect, as I did, a defense of the mystery as more than a second-rate step-child in the field of Literature, you won't find it.

If, however, you appreciate a long listing of suggestions for reading mystery and detective fiction, this is a valuable tool. But you'll have to put up with a lot of very long . . . . . pauses! As other reviewers have noted, M. Lee Alexander presents this as though her audience were very slowly writing down every word and every sentence. It can be annoying (and you'll occasionally check your device to see if it's still working!).

Unarguably, Alexander knows her stuff, and it's wonderful to be reminded of some of the great old names in mystery fiction, like Mary Roberts Rhinehart, Patricia Wentworth, Josephine Tey (and lots of male authors, too). This course will send me back to some old favorites and has introduced me to some new and old series to try.
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- C. Telfair "Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-22-2010
  • Publisher: Recorded Books