The World Cup of Golden Age Mystery Writers – Round One

And so the World Cup of Classic Mystery Writers begins…

Some ground rules first of all:

There is no point debating/quibbling the choice of writers. Anyone who got more than one nomination from someone who wanted to include them has been included. Apologies if your favourite missed the cut, but do bear in mind, this is just a bit of fun.

After a whole ten seconds of soul-searching, I’ve decided that hard-boiled mysteries are excluded. It’s a different genre, it’s like comparing apples with cricket balls – there’s a similarity, if you squint at them, but you wouldn’t put one of them in a crumble. However some such writers did also dabble in the classic mystery genre, so they are included.

In the opening round, there are eight groups of seven writers. You can vote for as many of them as you like, this time round, but please vote if you personally enjoy a writer’s work, not if you admire their work-ethic and effect, but don’t actually enjoy their work. So, for example, I personally wouldn’t vote for Anthony Berkeley as, on the whole, I haven’t enjoyed the majority of his books that I have read, despite others telling me how wonderful he is. The idea is for this to reflect personal likes/dislikes rather than reputations.

The top four from each group will go through to the knockout round – it’ll be a straight knockout based on seedings from the results of the first round. So hopefully we won’t have Dame Agatha and dear old Dorothy scrapping it out until later rounds, if they get that far…

So bearing that in mind, off we go. Vote for as many or as few as you like, but only you can only vote once. This poll will close on Thursday at 6pm local time, so don’t forget to have your say.


  1. I clicked a box for my choice in Group One and then hit “Submit”, but then wasn’t able to vote in any of the Groups. Was I supposed to click Submit only after I had voted in all of the groups, or is something malfunctioning? (Sigh…it’s probably the first.)


    • I’ve begun creating my own Honourablke Mention categories as consolation prizes for some of those writers I love but who probably won’t do so well. The Most Improved (in public perception) Author: ECR Lorac. The Most Re-readable Author (because of the joy of reading his prose): Edmund Crispin. Other suggestions welcomed…


      • I was very judicious in my choices, going for no more than a couple in each seeding. Didn’t vote for Biggers or Queen, for instance, despite my liking most of what they wrote. Didn’t vote for Marsh because I haven’t been as enamored of rereads as I was originally. Do I adore every Innes? Nah, but you don’t adore every Flynn either. And yet I get more shade thrown at me for liking him!

        Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad someone else voted for Innes. It seems that he’s not exactly the most popular, but I’d go so far as to put him in my top five. But maybe we’ll be surprised. I certainly wasn’t expecting to see so many people arguing for H. C. Bailey’s inclusion, but a heartening number of people did. Perhaps there’s a whole contingent of closet Innes fans out there too, just waiting to make their voices heard. Who can tell?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I voted for Bailey and Innes!

        Innes’s early works (up to, what? A Night of Errors?) are brilliant, and what the detective story should aim for in imagination and style. The later ones are much less ambitious, although there are gems like Sonia Wayward and The Bloody Wood.

        And the Mr. Fortune short stories are superb, even if the late novels do tail off badly.

        Jo, do you get shade thrown at you for liking Innes?


      • Ha, yes, Nick, I do, mostly from Kate. I’ve been pleased to see how many have stepped up to say they voted for him. Maybe there will be a groundswell of support? Well, I shouldn’t hope for too much!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Two groups I voted for 6 of them, three I voted for one only. I am another in the ‘voted innes’ camp, mainly for Lament for a Maker and Death in the President’s Lodging

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These groups are pretty balanced. Wouldn’t it be better if the top 32 overall progress to the next round instead of 4 from each group?


      • Kate has reviewed a number of the Little sisters books over at her blog. That’s how I became aware of their circa 20 titles that all have “black” in the title. Three decent ones include The Black Shroud, The Black Iris and The Black Coat.

        Liked by 2 people

      • My favourite of the books read of Constance and Gwenyth (or Conyth, taken together) Little is The Black Lady/ The Black Rustle. A good mystery with a strong dose of humour.

        Liked by 1 person

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