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Three Authors of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction

The golden age of detective stories refers to classic mystery novels written between the two world wars. Books of this era can be viewed as a game between the author and the reader where the reader is provided the clues to solve the mystery. In this course we will explore the lives of three women authors of this era and discuss a book that each wrote. We will also talk about the times that these women were writing and how that affected their fiction and their lives. We will start with Agatha Christie, the best-selling mystery writer of all time. Her most widely known works feature Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Our second author will be Dorothy L. Sayers, a British mystery writer who was also a scholar and translator. Her books feature amateur sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey. Ngaio Marsh was a New Zealand mystery writer and theater director. Her mystery fiction features Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn of Scotland Yard. Reading List: “Evil Under The Sun” by Agatha Christie, “Strong Poison” by Dorothy L. Sayers, and “Overture to Death” by Ngaio Marsh. All the books are readily available from libraries and stores. Diane Lending was a professor of Computer Information Systems in the College of Business at JMU. She retired in 2022. She began reading mysteries with Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown as a child. She read her first Agatha Christie novel at the age of 10 which started her lifelong love of mysteries written during the golden age of detective stories. She previously taught a course on Agatha Christie for LLI.

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