Save the Amazon Rainforest! #ActForTheAmazon

STOP GLOBAL WARMING NOW - before it kills millions of people!

Americans Welcome Refugees! Give Dreamers Citizenship! End Child Separation!

Respect ALL religions: Oppose the Muslim Ban!

Support Medicaid and Obamacare!

A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection

Welcome to the Classic Mystery homepage.

This is an educational site containing reading lists and essays on great mysteries, mainly of the pre-1990 era. It concentrates on detective stories, defined as "mysterious situations, such as a murder, disappearance or theft, investigated and solved by detectives". It only occasionally discusses kinds of crime fiction without mystery. Estimated size: 3,400 pages / 1,360,000 words.

It is designed and written by Michael E. Grost, a mystery fan who lives near Detroit, Michigan, USA.

I hope you enjoy it.

I write mysteries myself. Detective short stories by me are available (for free) on my mystery fiction page. These include twenty impossible crime tales! Please click to get a free E-book in EPUB or Kindle format with several short stories. (If the download link does not work, please e-mail me at and I will send you the stories.)

BREAKING NEWS: I have an article in the current issue #45 of the mystery journal OLD-TIME DETECTION, edited by Arthur Vidro. And the previous issue #44 has an impossible crime story by me. You can subscribe by e-mailing

BREAKING NEWS: Death of the Reader is an Australian talk radio show about classic mystery fiction. I took part in the episode about The Kennel Murder Case. You can hear the archived podcast, plus an extended version of my comments.

You can get an alphabetic list of mystery writers discussed in this web site, or you can browse the complete list of articles directly below.

See also my:

Please mail your comments to me at (Clicking here will bring up mail.) I am eager to hear what you think. You can also visit my web sites Classic Film and Television, Classic Comic Books and A History of American Art, and my personal home page.

You might want to begin by reading the Introduction. The other articles are listed in chronological order of the mystery authors they discuss; each can be read independently. All of the articles are written by me.

Most of the articles above start out with a list of recommended reading. This is followed by essays on the mystery writers in the category. The novels and stories on the lists were ones that I personally enjoyed. They are not a complete list of the author's works. The essays, too, concentrate on authors and works I admire. Very few of them are slams.

Short stories are listed in bullet form under the collections in which they appear; or they can be listed by themselves in quotes. Novels and books have no quotes around their titles. See How to Read the Lists for more information.

A good source for rare mystery and critical books are University libraries.

You will find such topics as:

Introduction: A Brief History of Classic Mystery Fiction.

19th Century Mystery Fiction

Edgar Allan Poe

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Melville and the American Renaissance

Wilkie Collins and Sensation Fiction

Casebook Literature

Émile Gaboriau and His School

Anna Katherine Green and Her School

Turn of the Century Mystery Fiction

Doyle and His School

Rogue Fiction

Mary Roberts Rinehart

Followers of Rinehart: Dorothy Cameron Disney, Leslie Ford, Mignon G. Eberhart and Others

Literary Visitors

Israel Zangwill, Jacques Futrelle, G.K. Chesterton and Impossible Crimes

Scientific Detection

Scientific Detection: Meade and Eustace, Arthur B. Reeve and Others

Frederick Irving Anderson and Vincent Starrett

Helen Reilly

Philip Wylie

Theodora Du Bois

The Golden Age

Intuitionist School

Agatha Christie

John Dickson Carr

Later Impossible Crimes

Mainly British Golden Age Writers: Ngaio Marsh, Georgette Heyer, A.A. Milne and Others

Unaligned American Golden Age Writers

Visitors From Science Fiction: Isaac Asimov, Jorge Luis Borges, Anthony Boucher, J.G. Ballard and Others

Van Dine School

S.S. Van Dine

Ellery Queen

Stuart Palmer

Craig Rice

Anthony Abbot, Rex Stout and Other Van Dine School Writers

Rufus King

Aaron Marc Stein / George Bagby / Hampton Stone

The Lockridges and Kelley Roos

Patricia McGerr

Edward D. Hoch

Writers from other sections influenced by Van Dine School:

Realist School

Realist School

R. Austin Freeman

E.C. Bentley, R.A.J. Walling and Others

Freeman Wills Crofts

Dorothy L. Sayers

John Rhode / Miles Burton

E.R. Punshon

Other British Realists

Lawrence Blochman and Other American Realists

Helen McCloy

The Bailey School

The Bailey School: H.C. Bailey, Margery Allingham, Philip MacDonald and Others

Pulp Fiction

Richard Harding Davis, Harvey J. O'Higgins, Christopher Morley

Dashiell Hammett

Hardboiled Fiction: Carroll John Daly and Others

Raymond Chandler and His Followers

Nebel, Constiner, Davis and Other Pulp Mystery Adventure

John K. Butler

Erle Stanley Gardner

Cornell Woolrich and His Followers

Weird Menace

MacKinlay Kantor and Police Fiction

Contemporary Mystery Fiction

The Best Detective Short Stories of the Year A guide to recent years.

Contemporary Formal Mystery

Contemporary Police Procedurals

Contemporary Private Eyes and Thrillers

Children's Mysteries


Cladistics: Taxonomies of Mystery Writers' stories: Story Patterns: Genre: Periods: Cognition: Canons in Mystery Fiction Includes a general theory of canons in literature.

Syllabi for Studying Mystery Fiction

By Michael E. Grost: Mystery Course Syllabi Compiled by Elizabeth Foxwell for the Mystery Writers of America.

General Discussion

Integration and Mystery Fiction: Social Issues and Mystery Fiction: Observations on Mystery Writers

How to Read the Lists AND Glossary Also contains links to selected topics in the Guide.

Index: Alphabetic List of Mystery Authors, With Links

Mystery in Comic Books

Mystery and Detection in Comic Books (these articles are part of my website Classic Comic Books):

External Links

Publishers of classic mysteries: A full detailed history of locked room fiction can be found in two books published by Locked Room International: Mystery Blogs: Curious Book Shop The wonderful used book store in East Lansing, Michigan.

Mystery Scene Magazine News magazine covering the mystery field, with many book reviews on-line.

Mystery*File The Crime Fiction Research Journal, now available on-line.

Barry Ergang His award-winning short stories (also here). His Bibliography with links including his mystery book reviews.

The Thrilling Detective Web Site Huge site on Private Eyes.

A Locked Room Library by John Pugmire

Woman Detectives by Bob Schneider

Golden Age of Detection Wiki Collection of articles on Golden Age mystery (including some works reprinted from this site).

Wyatt James Also known as Grobius Shortling.

Science Fiction Detective Novels at CultureLab.

I wish to record my intellectual debt to the writings of Andrew Sarris. His The American Cinema is both a model and an inspiration to the current Guide.

Sections of this work in progress were first put on the World Wide Web on February 15, 1996. It was most recently updated August 15, 2023. The Guide is being continuously expanded.

(C)Copyright 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 by Michael E. Grost. Reproduction and distribution are permissible for non-profit purposes only, but no changes are to be made to this document without the author's written consent.