Why this book?
I’ve read Bloody Murder more times than any other non-fiction book. The first edition made a huge impression on me. Symons introduced me to countless fascinating authors and books (many of them obscure) which I’d never heard of and which have given me endless reading pleasure. Symons’ opinions were, and remain, controversial, and his disdain for ‘humdrum’ writing from the ‘Golden Age’ between the wars has attracted much criticism, some of it sensible, some of it over-the-top. His belief that the ‘detective story’ had metamorphosed into the ‘crime novel’ was eloquently argued, but I think mistaken. Today’s readers have just as much of an appetite for an entertaining, well-crafted puzzle as ever. But never mind the flaws; this elegantly written book remains as influential as it is indispensable.