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Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown: FROM LOGIC TO METAPHYSICS

T. S. Eliot and detective stories
In addition to the authors of undeniable quality that readers of detective novels can enjoy, the genre’s library also contains literary critics of great stature, including, perhaps surprisingly to some, a poet and critic of the caliber of Thomas Stearns Eliot. He not only dedicated numerous reviews to mystery novels but also added valuable pages of literary analysis as well as a set of five rules that would allow the conception and writing of quality detective stories. For now, I leave the rules to the writers of such stories. What interests me here, however, are his main ideas regarding the crime fiction genre.
In an article entitled “Wilkie Collins and Dickens” published in 1927, Eliot describes Collins’ novel The Moonstone as “the first and greatest of English detective novels”, contrasting it with the crime fiction of Edgar Allan Poe: “The detective story, as created by Poe, is something as specialized and as intellectual as a chess problem; whereas the best English detective fiction has relied less on the beauty of the mathematical problem and much more on the intangible human element.”

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