Talk:Historical mystery

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Untitled[edit]

I have a novel published in 1802 by Eleanor Sleath entitled 'Who's the Murderer?' Surely this must be the first whodunnit?

John Pine johnno@globalnet.co.uk

This article is on historical whodunnits - that is, whodunnits with a historical setting, not whodunnits written in the past. To be a historical whodunnit, a story has to fit some guideline such as being set before the author's birthdate (not everyone agrees on the guideline). Otherwise, every whodunnit ever written would become a historical whodunnit at some point in time, making the distinction between contemporary fiction and historical fiction essentially meaningless. Margaret Donsbach (talk) 18:42, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Carr and Lovesey[edit]

You get the impression that Carr just wrote "The bride in Newgate" and then never entered the historical whodunnit again. He wrote a string of novels in the 50-ties and 60-ties. Also it doesn't even mention Peter Lovesey who made himself a name in the 70-ties with novels of a sgt. Cribb, a victorian detective. It is from them Peters and the rest got the torch and carried it on. Also, it does not do not to mention Carrs The murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey which is admittedly based on a real crime but written as if it were a novel. It arrived in 1936. Kurben 11:57, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Anna Katherine Green[edit]

Which of Anna Katherine Green's stories/novels are supposed to be historical? I checked a couple of these, including The Mystery of the Hasty Arrow, and they all appear to be set around the time that Green wrote them in the late 1800s - in other words, contemporary settings, not historical. If she did indeed write a historical whodunnit, it would be helpful to include the title(s). If not, the reference to her should be removed. Margaret Donsbach (talk) 18:49, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

I confess I haven't read my way through all of them, but to the best of my knowledge none of her work should be considered as part of this category. As you say, they're set in the time in which they were written. It is a difficult problem; John Dickson Carr's first and last books are set in the same time period, but the last few are considered "historical" where the first few are not. I think it's sensible to look at how the author seems to have meant her work to be viewed, and in this case I think she meant to be writing contemporary novels. Accounting4Taste:talk 21:54, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
And, maddeningly, the citation (which doesn't IMHO qualify as a reliable source) says merely that some of her books are historical but neglects to mention which ones or the reason for that assertion. Accounting4Taste:talk 22:04, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

is this a just a list?[edit]

If it is, can I add CJ Sansom, Susannah Gregory, James Mcgee, Andrew Pepper... I could go on. Jake Arnott writes crime novels set in the 60s. Does that count? - Streona 00:35, September 27, 2012

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Move to Historical mystery. Cúchullain t/c 16:05, 2 December 2013 (UTC)



Historical whodunnitHistorical whodunit – The one-N spelling is the first-used spelling from the 1930s [1] [2] and the Google Ngram viewer library scan shows it to be the most-used. The main article whodunit also uses one N, presumably for these reasons. — TAnthonyTalk 09:58, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

Upon further research improving the article, most external sources I'm finding and Google Ngram viewer prefer Historical mystery to Historical whodunit. I'm also finding that "historical mystery" is either already being used in some form or fits better/feels less clunky (to me) in author and novel articles referring to the genre. Admittedly I have been adding links to this effect when appropriate articles refer to "mystery" but leaving "whodunit" where it exists. I'd like to steer this move request in the direction of:

Historical mystery.— TAnthonyTalk 05:21, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

I should also note that "historical whodunnit" (2 Ns) does not come up at all on the Google Ngram. My previous search had been without the word "historical."— TAnthonyTalk 05:32, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

  • I support Historical mystery as the title to this article, and best name for the genre. --Prairieplant (talk) 06:05, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Historical mystery, as more common and less colloquial. --BDD (talk) 19:59, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Is this really a literary genre?[edit]

This article seems a list, with some original viewpoint text, not reporting any discussion among the literati that this is a genre. Why keep this article?

The references support the notion of mystery stories, but not this oddly named genre. There is a link to the etymology of the cute term whodunit or whodunnit. If there are no essays or articles to support this notion of an actual genre beyond this Wikipedia entry, why write this at all? Agatha Christie was a mystery writer, not the paragon for this article, as the choice of the book cover image suggest. Without serious references on the genre itself, this article stands on sand. If there are arenas in which this is described, beyond this shaky list, then bring those in. Otherwise, these are all mystery stories or novels set in a time period other than when the author was living. --Prairieplant (talk) 01:35, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Hey there! I've been working on this article for the last week, starting by providing references for the existing works/chronology and merging in the former List of fictional historical detectives, which makes more sense as a part of this article. I'm just now getting to sources on the genre itself, an awesome example of which is this article. The genre is indeed a notable one, but as "historical mystery" and not the clunky "historical whodunnit." I was waiting to suggest that move until the article was farther along, but it seems like such a no-brainer that I've suggested that option in the Historical whodunnitHistorical whodunit move request I put up last week when I first started with the article. Thanks.— TAnthonyTalk 07:50, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
I see you have added references that are more to the point, and are rapidly improving the text to make the points more clearly about this sub-genre. Your proposed new title is better than either spelling of the current title. I will admit to breaking links between Historical Whodunnit and the articles on the twenty books in Ellis Peter's Cadfael Chronicles, because this article, prior to your recent complete make-over, was not helpful or informative, and as it was, a bit silly. Each Cadfael book article opens with an introductory sentence like this one.

A Morbid Taste for Bones is a medieval mystery novel by Ellis Peters set in May 1137.

That is, her works are linked as mystery novels, not this sub-genre, despite your references claiming Ellis Peters and this series as a model or prototype of it, as marked by the Crime Writers Association Historical Award. I know you linked the Cadfael Chronicles article to this article, but using the title historical mystery. As this article is improved, perhaps that can stay as you altered it. For each book, such a link might work into the Reviews section, instead of the opening sentence, something to ponder. --Prairieplant (talk) 11:00, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
I see you are already going through the Cadfael Chronicle articles and altering that opening sentence to link to this article. --Prairieplant (talk) 11:07, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes obviously I'm trying to improve the article and am glad you can appreciate the difference! I started back linking from the Cadfael works but then stopped at the 2nd book or so because I suddenly realized that such a change might be controversial for exactly the reason you are getting at. You're exactly right that although Peters is often credited with the rise of the genre, it wasn't really "a thing" when she actually started writing her books. To that end I will probably add something from the Publisher's Weekly article to the author and series pages (and perhaps Morbid Taste for Bones) as far as crediting her for the genre, but I won't go through all the novels. I will leave the articles alone after that, and as someone with more interest in and experience with Peters, please feel free to edit as you see fit, even if that ultimately means moving or even removing what I've added.
Also, per your comments regarding the article name, please feel free to participate in the move discussion above if you wish. Thanks!— TAnthonyTalk 16:10, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Looking at the expanded article, and list, I wonder why Agatha Christie's one book set 4,000 years ago is the cover used for a visual, but is not on the list. It seems either the text should explain why that book is not on the list (not a detective?) or add it to the list. I am still not fond of using her book's cover for the image of the historical mystery, but I do not have a better cover to suggest, so that is not a useful comment of mine, is it? I do not know many of the other authors from the 1990s for example, who might provide a better cover, symbolic of the start of the genre being recognized in the 1990s -- perhaps the first winner of that CWA dagger for Historical Mystery? --Prairieplant (talk) 09:38, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

This article has the right name now! Excellent. The text is so much better, explaining the meaning and relating it to other genres as well. Thanks TAnthony! --Prairieplant (talk) 04:36, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Little mysteries in Chinese[edit]

Why did User: Bshong0520 add this to the end of the article, among the categories?

zh:推理小說#歷史推理

Using google translate after zh: was added History Mystery followed by # Reasoning.

I do not know what zh: means in Wikipedia editing. Nothing seems to show up on the Edit tab or the article itself from this addition.

Is this a way to link the article to the Chinese Wikipedia? Ever curious, --Prairieplant (talk) 14:23, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 12:33, 29 March 2016 (UTC)