Guilty but Insane by Samantha Walton

Guilty but Insane


Today’s blogpost is purely informational: I was lucky enough to be given this book for Christmas, and loved it. Despite my keen interest in Golden Age crime fiction, I had not heard of it, and haven’t seen mention of it on the blogs I follow – but I think many of my fellow fans would be interested in it.

The title is fairly comprehensive: Guilty but Insane – Mind and Law in Golden Age Detective Fiction.

Samantha Walton, an English literature academic, looks at the complex (real-life) laws on insanity in the UK, and then in each chapter shines a light on both the law, and on crime fiction, by means of detective stories that reflect some aspect of insanity and the law.

Books by Margery Allingham, Gladys Mitchell, Agatha Christie, Christianna Brand and Dorothy L Sayers are among those dealt with in some depth. And fair warning: these are heavily spoileresque chapters, she is discussing named murderers and going through the whole plot. But then this is a complete joy if you have read the books: it’s so rare to be able to read a full analysis of, for example, Police at the Funeral or Crooked House.

And so I am recommending this book to anyone with an interest in Golden Age crime fiction – you will love it…

With thanks to JS, the clever friend who bought me the book.

All the authors mentioned above have featured heavily on the blog – click on the labels below to see the posts.









Comments

  1. Oh, this does sound absolutely fascinating, Moira. How fascinating that she looks at the law through the lens of crime fiction. I think this would be something I'd really enjoy - thanks for sharing about it.

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    1. I do think all of us who enjoy Golden Age fiction would find a great deal of interest in this book, Margot.

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  2. The cover alone draws me in.... Thanks for the review. I would not have found this book without you pointing the way.

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  3. Right up my alley. Thanks so much for bringing it to everyone's attention!

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    1. It was a real joy to read, I actually felt I was wallowing in the spoiler chapters.

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    1. It really was Chrissie, I'm sure you would enjoy it...

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  5. NOT at my library, but searching on the title brought up some grim-looking substitutes.

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    1. My mind is boggling at the thought of the other titles! Stick out for this one.

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