Pauline Rowson on how the Golden Age of Crime played a keen part in developing her love of crime fiction

A post on fellow crime writer's blog, Martin Edwards, brought my attention to a new book which is currently being researched by Irish writer and researcher, John Curran, the author of Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks.  John is currently researching detective fiction written in the period between 1930 to 1950 known as The Golden Age of Crime Fiction and this caught my eye because I am a huge fan of crime novels written during this period, many of which have kept me company over the years since a child and which I still re-read today. They have played a keen part in developing my love of crime fiction and hence my desire to become a crime writer. Instead of replicating them though, or the period, I have created a very contemporary hero.

My DI Andy Horton  is far removed from many of the detectives of that era. He is a brave, earthy and a complex character: physically strong but emotionally vulnerable. He is driven by a deep need to belong, yet always finds himself on the outside. Abandoned by his mother when he was ten, Horton was raised in a succession of children’s homes. Growing up on the rough streets of Portsmouth, Horton survived on his wits – and with his fists. He knows the dark, seedy recesses of his home city – which he hates and loves in equal measure. He seeks justice and doesn’t much care how he gets it, just as long as the villains get done. He lives alone.

The Golden Age of Crime Fiction threw up many great writers whose names have lived on long after they have gone, and whose books are still read by many people across the World today, and what a huge  tribute to their talent that is. Here are just a few of my favourites from the era, which I have great pleasure in re-reading again and again: The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin; The Port of London Murders by Josephine Bell; The Silk Stocking Murders by Anthony Berkeley, The Singing Sands by Josephine Tey, and Blood Upon The Snow by Hilda Lawrence. All brilliant and thoroughly enjoyable.


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