Murder Most Foul


Best of 2020

We’re away until January 4, but we’re reposting some of our favorite pieces from 2020. Enjoy your holiday!

P. D. James. Photo: Ulla Montan.

“Death seems to provide the minds of the Anglo-Saxon race with a greater fund of innocent enjoyment than any other single subject.” So wrote Dorothy L. Sayers in 1934. She was, of course, thinking of murder; not the sordid, messy and occasionally pathetic murders of real life but the more elegantly contrived and mysterious concoctions of the detective novelist. To judge, too, from the universal popularity of the genre, it isn’t only the Anglo-Saxons who share this enthusiasm for murder most foul. From Greenland to Japan, millions of readers are perfectly at home in Sherlock Holmes’s claustrophobic sanctum at 221B Baker Street, Miss Marple’s charming cottage at St. Mary Mead, and Lord Peter Wimsey’s elegant apartment in Piccadilly. There is nothing like a potent amalgam of mystery and mayhem to make the whole world kin.