Frederick Irving (1877-1947) U.S. journalist and mystery writer, his
approach to storytelling was slow-moving but subtle, with clues more implied and suggested
than obviously planted. So intricately plotted were his stories that he abandoned one of
his most popular characters, the Infallible Godahl, after just six short stories simply
because (according to some sources) he had run out of ideas.
Anderson's criminous universe revolved around four characters. The linchpin was writer Oliver Armiston, whose crime plots were so perfect that the underworld used them as blueprints for real-life jobs. He finally retired in disgust after Godahl tricked him into providing the plan for an historic crime. Not that Godahl needed that much help. He arranged his capers so that his name never crossed the minds of the police (represented by the decidedly fallible Deputy Parr). No one would know about him at all except for the fact that Armiston was made privy to some of the great criminal's secrets before the final betrayal. The Godahl stories were collected in 1914 as The Adventures of the Infallible Godahl.
Parr was equally inept in his attempts to arrest Sophie Lang, a beautiful young woman who led a gang of jewel thieves. Her stories were issued as a 1925 fix-up, The Notorious Sophie Lang, published only in England. Parr had greater success in a 1930 collection, The Book of Murder, primarily because he brought his cases to Oliver Armiston, who proved as skillful at unraveling criminal plots as he had been at putting them together. No further Anderson collections appeared, although his stories were published sporadically in publications edited by author Ellery Queen until his death.
Freeman, R(ichard) Austin (English physician and mystery writer, 1862-1943) Freeman's place in the history of the crime story hangs on two very different pegs. First, he was the creator of Dr. John Evelyn Thorndyke, the genre's first thoroughly authentic scientific investigator. Freeman, a trained scientist himself, and a stickier for accuracy, would have murder devices built and tested (short of killing someone, of course) before he would allow himself to publish stories depicting their use. Second, with a Dr. Thorndyke story entitled "The Case of Oscar Brodsky" (1912, in The Singing Bone), Freeman invented what has come to be called the inverted detective story, wherein the reader sees the crime committed and knows who the killer is; the suspense comes from wondering if the culprit will be caught. This technique had been hinted at by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and its locus classicus is in the Columbo TV series, but it was Freeman who brought it firmly into the genre.
Post, Melville Davisson (1869-1930)
U.S. lawyer, politician, and mystery writer. Post, the most successful magazine writer of
his day, is remembered now for the creation of two diametrically opposed series
characters: unscrupulous legal genius Randolph Mason, and the nearly biblically righteous
Uncle Abner, who solved baffling mysteries in the pre-Civil War western counties of
Chandler, Raymond (1888-1959) Many
people consider Raymond Chandler to be the greatest mystery writer of all time. He was
certainly among the most influential. Even today, there are writers earning vast sums of
money and building entire careers writing nothing but their versions of Raymond Chandler.
Copyright © MCMXCIX-MM-MMI Ellery Queen, a website on deduction. All rights reserved.