The Technique of the Mystery Story (Google eBook)

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Home Correspondence School, 1913 - Detective and mystery stories - 336 pages
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Review: The Technique of the Mystery Story (1913)

User Review  - Estott - Goodreads

Better than you'd think. Very dated, but full of good sensible advice on constructing and writing a mystery novel along early 20th C. lines. Wells wrote some terrible mysteries but she had her theories down fine. Read full review

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Page 28 - I seem to remember having been told that a bad sweep was once left in a stack with his brush, to indicate which way the wind blew.
Page 287 - It is my design to render it manifest that no one point in its composition is referable either to accident or intuition that the work proceeded step by step to its completion with the precision and rigid consequence of a mathematical problem.
Page 74 - He boasted to me, with a low chuckling laugh, that most men, in respect to himself, wore windows in their bosoms, and was wont to follow up such assertions by direct and very startling proofs of his intimate knowledge of my own.
Page 217 - The whole is a passing pageant, where we should sit as unconcerned at the issues, for life or death, as at a battle of the frogs and mice.
Page 165 - With the algebraists, however, who are Pagans themselves, the 'Pagan fables' are believed, and the inferences are made, not so much through lapse of memory as through an unaccountable addling of the brains. In short, I never yet encountered the mere mathematician who...
Page 287 - Nothing is more clear than that every plot, worth the name, must be elaborated to its denouement before any thing be attempted with the pen. It is only with the denouement constantly in view that we can give a plot its indispensable air of consequence, or causation, by making the incidents, and especially the tone at all points, tend to the development of the intention.
Page 218 - Enough has been given to morality; now comes the turn of Taste and the Fine Arts. A sad thing it was, no doubt, very sad ; but we can't mend it. Therefore let us make the best of a bad matter; and, as it is impossible to hammer anything out of it for moral purposes, let us treat it aesthetically, and see if it will turn to account in that way. Such is the logic of a sensible man, and what follows ? We dry up our tears, and have the satisfaction, perhaps, to discover that a transaction, which, morally...
Page 74 - I could not help remarking and admiring (although from his rich ideality I had been prepared to expect it) a peculiar analytic ability in Dupin. He seemed, too, to take an eager delight in its exercise if not exactly in its display and did not hesitate to confess the pleasure thus derived.
Page 56 - In the whole composition there should be no word written of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one preestablished design.
Page 90 - The mental features discoursed of as the analytical, are, in themselves, but little susceptible of analysis. We appreciate them only in their effects. We know of them, among other- things, that they are always to their possessor, when inordinately possessed, a source of the liveliest enjoyment. As the strong man exults in his physical ability, delighting in such exercise as call his muscles into action, so glories the analyst in that moral activity which disentangles.

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