Golden Age vs. Modern Mystery Crime Fiction?

Do you think the quality of crime fiction today MATCHES or SURPASSES that of the Golden Age Detective fiction period? Sure, not every mystery story published during the Golden Age period but as a whole do you think that period exemplified the best of detective fiction and put the genre on the map and made it more mainstream? Does today's crime fiction --ok, let me put the question another way, are there any modern crime fiction stories that display signs of innovation, imagination, original & unforgettable plots/detectives, or ingeniousness? To make it clearer when  I say "modern crime stories", I don't mean stories only set in the contemporary period . . . .not only contemporary but historical as well. 


  • Personally, my favorite contemporary writer is Dana Stabenow - her stories are set in Alaska, and the combination of good tight mysteries with compelling and interesting character development and interactions make for great reading. A suggestion: try to read the "Kate Shugak" series in order, because there is a development in the life and character of the detective that adds to the story.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    It would be wrong and unfair to say today's Detective Fiction surpasses the Golden Age because we have 'Morse Sophisticated' tastes and Technology that we didn't have back then also Women have Occupations which may or may not have existed then and if they did they were obviously not considered suitable for being a sleuth, One of my Favourite Crime Writers is Rebecca Tope who has Created Thea Osbourn a House-sitter and Simmy Browne a Florist, aswell as having a sleuth who is an Undertaker, The Golden Age hasn't as far as I am aware didn't have 2 Women working together as sleuths and although it is the only series of Simon Brett's I haven't read he created The Feathering series with 2 Ladies solving Crimes together, I am also a fan of Betty Rowland's Books where one series is about Crime Writer Mel Craig and another is Sukie Reynolds a woman Police Officer, I could continue and Wax lyrical about David Roberts Books set n the 1930s books with Lord Edward Corinth, and Left-wing Journalist Verity Browne, I think on balance Detective Fiction isn't as good as it were because a lot of Writers fall back on having Police Officers as sleuths  but It is a matter of taste, I saw a Documentary about Agatha Christie a while ago and 1 Crime Writer whose work has been Televised said the Genre was not served well as people who would not allowed to have access to information and wouldn't be allowed to be included in an Investigation like Miss Marple were, but I think that makes Detective Fiction more enjoyable, well, for me anyway.
  • It would be quite arrogant I think to say that modern detective fiction surpasses the ones from the GA and I agree with Tommy_A_Jones that it's unfair too because it was GA mysteries that set the mark for the genre and made it mainstream. The GA period was a time of innovation, originality, ingeniousness, risks, flourishment, and advancement within the genre. 

    I think we need more modern amateur sleuth (who aren't police officers or on in the force) mysteries that are in the same vein as the ones from the GA period. I noticed a lot of today's amateur sleuth mysteries are fluffy in content and aren't like the meat and potatoes of the GA period. 
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I don't know what you mean when you say modern Ametaur Sleuths are woolly, I think that it must be quite difficult coming up with new plots and ways to get an Ametaur into an investigation, Agatha Christie sure must have found it hard, At least 2 Novels start with Poirot receiving Letters and reading books by a modern Writer a couple remind me of each other.
  • It's definitely hard to come up with new plots and I know that due to writing mysteries myself but it's not like they have to be completely 100% original since everything isn't 100% original anyways. Agatha Christie's first book The Mysterious Affair At Styles was heavily influenced by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Anna Katharine Green, Gaston Leroux, and probably a host of others, borrowing plot devices and character templates -- Christie borrowed many elements and YET kept "Styles" fresh and original. If a writer places all this pressure on himself to write a new kind of plot that's never been told before, then it will be difficult. I think as long as you're able to write a story and put a new spin on something, even if it's a plot device or technique that's been done before, then you're own your way to writing a new kind of story that would still be original.  
  • I like to write mysteries more in the GA style but I'm worried that my stories won't be taken seriously and treated more like pastiches.I don't like the sound of pastiche because though I like the construction of a GA mystery I don't want to imitate the style of Agatha Christie or any other GA writer -- I want to be myself and have my own voice and style. I love Christie's plot devices and I'm sure she borrowed a part of a plot device that she liked and was influenced with and put her own original spin on it. Though I pay much respect to the cleverness and originality of GA writers, I want my work to stand on its own. I'm not writing stories similar to the GA merely to pay respect but I'm writing stories like that because I love its construction and the cerebral process of the mystery. I like to use my brain, analyze, guess, and think things through. 
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Perhaps instead of thinking Pastiche you should think Homage which sounds better, it sounds like a Respectful Tribute to what it is a Homage to whereas Pastiche can be thought of being one step away from a spoof but I have heard the word Pastiche used when the speaker's meaning was meaning to be respectful.
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