Tuesday, January 20, 2015

1/20/1945 Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?

January 20 1945.  The most famous attack on mystery fiction was an article by critic Edmund Wilson, which appeared in the January 20, 1945 issue of The New Yorker.  "Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?" declares Dorothy L. Sayers' The Nine Tailors "one of the dullest books I have ever encountered in any field."  He also calls Ngaio Marsh's writing "unappetizing sawdust." 

This piece was actual a response to readers who had complained about an earlier piece in which he described Rex Stout's work as "sketchy and skimpy," and declared Agatha Christie "literally impossible to read."  He admitted to liking Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely, but said it was an adventure story, not a detective story.  For the record, he also loathed J.R.R. Tolkien and H.P. Lovecraft.

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