My GA reviews were nearly all written for the GA Wiki (http://gadetection.pbworks.com/ ) which is an absolutely invaluable source of information about GA authors and their books. There is a great deal of debate and definition about exactly what period the GA covers, but the wiki gives a wide definition of  ‘roughly from 1920 to 1960’ – and including of course the works of obvious GA authors – Christie, Allingham, Marsh and Innes for instance – published after that date.

There are only a small number of GA reviews here as I have tended not to write separate reviews when perfectly adequate ones exist on the wiki. Which is not to say that I necessarily agree with all the opinions expressed there – indeed I am often in direct opposition to them!

Some GA enthusiasts tend to be polemical in that enthusiasm, bemoaning the condition of ‘current’ mystery fiction and asserting that GA values are the sole ones which can be applied to mystery fiction – that if a book does not conform to those values, in particular if it is not plot-dominated – it is not really mystery fiction. Quite obviously – to anyone who has read any reviews here – that is not a view to subscribe to. While recognising the importance of plot I am quite happy with books that are driven by psychology, sociology, humour, even history. The fact that I love many GA writers does not mean that I have to be dislike other forms of mystery fiction. There is no necessary exclusivity about it (in fairness the prejudice sometimes operates in the opposite way – dismissing GA work as ‘mere’ plot contrivance – this is a view I find even more blinkered and absurd, if possible; to me writers and commentators, at least, should always understand the history of the genre).

So my manifesto, such as it is, is that one of the great joys of the mystery genre is its ability to contain so many styles, approaches and tones. Exclusivity is the enemy of creativity and interest.

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