I'm studying up on the history of mystery, and I've decided I need to go back and read some old stuff. Of course I knew Poe gets credit for the first mystery, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." But I need to read some of the other early guys like Dickens and Wilkie Collins.
Before the modern mystery began, the Chinese had a version of mystery fiction in which a judge or similar official is followed as he deals with the various crimes he must unravel in order to mete out punishment. It isn't much like our novels, but I have read modern authors who did something similar with good effect.
Of course there are lots of Golden Age novels, some of which I've read and others I've seen done as movies (I know, I know: Not the same thing.)
In modern times we have a dozen or so subgenres, so the reader can, should he so desire, spend years reading only books about amateur female sleuths who knit in their spare time and work at the library on Wednesdays.
I guess the point here is that mystery, although sometimes maligned as not "real literature" is a viable and vibrant genre that isn't going away soon and is worth the time spent reading it, writing it, and researching what's been done before us.
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