Sunday, February 12, 2017

Fortnightly Book, February 12

In some of my former novels, the object has been to trace the influence of circumstances upon character. In the present story I have reversed the process. The attempt made, here, is to trace the influence of character on circumstances.

Detective fiction began as a short story genre. Within the confines of a short story, one can elaborate a problem and solve it without wearying the reader or overcomplicating the problem. The jump to a novel-length work of detective fiction is not a trivial one. To do it requires shifting the structure of the tale from a focus on problem-solving to a focus on character interaction -- while keeping the character interaction tied to some kind of mystery to be solved, which, after all, is what makes detective fiction what it is. While there were a few attempts to stretch puzzles to book lengths before, it's generally held that the jump was made, properly speaking, by Wilkie Collins in the summer of 1868, when he serialized The Moonstone in Dickens's journal, All the Year Round. As the first full-length detective novel, it has endured quite well, and has high accolades -- G. K. Chesterton, Dorothy Sayers, and T. S. Elio t have all claimed it to be the best of all stories of detective fiction.

Apparently both The Weird Circle and Suspense did radio adaptations of the story, so if I have time I'll have to hunt those down for comparison.

On her eighteenth birthday, Rachel Verinder inherits a massive and beautiful diamond that had been taken from India by a corrupt officer in the British army; after the birthday party, the diamond is stolen. Sergeant Cuff of Scotland Yard, although a brilliant man, is unable to solve the mystery because the gentry are not telling him everything. A gentleman, Franklin Blake, is also attempting to unravel the mystery, one that can only begin to be solved by the careful interconnecting of the different perspectives of the people involved....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please understand that this weblog runs on a third-party comment system, not on Blogger's comment system. If you have come by way of a mobile device and can see this message, you may have landed on the Blogger comment page, or the third party commenting system has not yet completely loaded; your comments will only be shown on this page and not on the page most people will see, and it is much more likely that your comment will be missed.