1. The criminal must be mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to know
  2. All supernatural or preternatural  agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.
  3. Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.
  4. No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.
  5. No Chinaman must figure in the story.  
  6. No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.
  7. The detective himself must not commit the crime.
  8. The detective is bound to declare any clues which he may discover.
  9. The “sidekick” of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal from the reader any thoughts which pass through his mind: his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.
  10. Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.



Julian Symons – Bloody Murder

P.D. James – Talking About Detective Fiction

G.K.Chesterton – ‘A Defence of Detective Stories’

Raymond Chandler – ‘The Simple Art of Murder


William Godwin – The Adventures of Caleb Williams

Sheridan Le Fanu – Wylder’s Hand

Edgar Allen Poe – Auguste Dupin stories

‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’

‘The Mystery of Marie Rogêt’

‘The Purloined Letter’

Wilkie Collins – The Moonstone

Emile Gaboriau – The Widow LerougeMonsieur Lecoq

Dick Donovan – The Man HunterWho Poisoned Hetty Duncan

Matthias McDonnell Bodkin – Paul Beck, the Rule of Thumb DetectiveDora Myrl, the Lady DetectiveYoung Beck, a Chip off the Old Block

G.K.Chesterton – Father Brown: The Essential Tales (Compendium)

Trent’s Last Case – Edmund Clerihew Bentley

GASTON LEROUX  1868-1927




SHERLOCK HOLMES ON http://www.archive.org

Basil Rathbone as Holmes
Arthur Conan Doyle


Arthur Conan Doyle’s own selection of the best twelve Sherlock Holmes stories

(March 1927, Strand Magazine competition)

The Speckled Band

The Red-Headed League

The Dancing Men

The Final Problem

A Scandal in Bohemia

The Empty House

The Five Orange Pips

The Second Stain

The Devil’s Foot

The Priory School

The Musgrave Ritual

The Reigate Squires

Note 1: Doyle discounted the stories collected in The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes  as the volume was yet to be published and the stories had only appeared, over the previous five years, in The Strand.

Note 2: The winner of the competition, Mr. R.T. Norman, identified ten of the twelve stories selected by Doyle and placed in a sealed envelope. 


1907    Publication of The Mystery of the Yellow Room (Le Mystère de la Chambre Jaune) – Gaston Leroux

1908    Publication of The Circular Staircase – Mary Roberts Rinehart

1913    Publication of Trent’s Last Case – Edmund Clerihew Bentley, the introduction of   Philip Trent

1914    Publication of Rouletabille at the War (Rouletabille a la Guerre)­ – Gaston Leroux

1920    Publication of The Mysterious Affair at Styles – Agatha Christie, which introduces Hercule Poirot – it was written in 1916

1922    Publication of The Secret Adversary – Agatha Christie, the first appearance of Tommy and Tuppence

1923    Publication of Whose Body – Dorothy Leigh Sayers, the introduction of Lord Peter Wimsey

1926    The mysterious disappearance of Agatha Christie

            Publication of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie

1927    Publication of Thirteen Problems – Agatha Christie, one of which stories introduces Jane Marple

            Death of Gaston Leroux

1928    Agatha Christie divorces Archie

1929    Publication of The Crime at Black Dudley – Margery Allingham, the introduction of Albert Campion

            Publication of The Roman Hat Mystery – Ellery Queen (Frederick Dannay and Manfred Lee), the introduction of Ellery Queen

1930    Establishment of the Detection Club by, among others, Ronald Knox

            Publication of The Door – Mary Roberts Rinehart in which ‘the butler did it’

            Publication of Murder at the Vicarage – Agatha Christie,  the first appearance of Jane Marple in a novel

            Publication of Mystery Mile – Margery Allingham, the second Campion novel 

1933    Publication of The Album – Mary Roberts Rinehart

            Publication of Hag’s Nook – John Dickson Carr, introduces Gideon Fell

1934    Publication of A Man Lay Dead – Ngaio Marsh, the introduction of Roderick Alleyn

            Publication of Nine Tailors – Dorothy L. Sayers, her personal favourite Wimsey novel 

1934    Publication of The Plague Court Murders – Carter Dickson (John Dickson Carr) the first Sir Henry Merrivale novel

            Publication of Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

1935    Publication of The Three Coffins (GB-The Hollow Man) – John Dickson Carr, one of the great ‘locked room’ mysteries

1936    Publication of Trent’ Own Case – Edmund Clerihew Bentley

            Bentley becomes President of the Detection Club until 1949

1937    Publication of Gaudy Night – Dorothy L.Sayers, Wimsey and Harriet Vane get together at last

1938    Publication of Trent Intervenes – Edmund Clerihew Bentley

1940    Publication of Edmund Clerihew Bentley’s autobiography Those Days

            Publication of And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie, in the USA, still her best-selling novel (100m copies sold)

1945    ‘Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd’ – Edmund Wilson, is published in the January edition of the New Yorker

1953    Publication of The Cavalier’s Cup – Carter Dickson, the last Merrivale story

1957    Publication of 4.50 from Paddington – Agatha Christie

            Death of Dorothy L. Sayers, aged 64

1958    Death of Mary Roberts Rinehart, aged 82

1966    Death of Margery Allingham, aged 62

1967    Publication of Dark of the Moon – John Dickson Carr, the final Gideon Fell story

1973    Publication of Postern of Fate – Agatha Christie – last novel published in her lifetime and the last Tommy and Tuppence novel

1975    Publication of Curtain – Agatha Christie,  the last Poirot novel

1976    Publication of Sleeping Murder – Agatha Christie, the last Marple novel

            Death of Agatha Christie, aged 85

1977    Death of John Dickson Carr, aged 70