Supper Sleuths, a mystery discussion group, meets every second Tuesday evening of the month (except July & August) at 6:00 pm. You are encouraged to bring a brown bag snack to enjoy at the meeting. Each month focuses on a distinct theme. Participants share round table reviews of titles they have read and learn about new titles to add to their reading lists. Drop ins welcome.

The next Supper Sleuths Discussion takes place February 12, 2018 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm in the Lecture Hall.

History of Mystery – Selections tracing the development of the mystery genre. This month, choose any early 20th C. mystery to discuss with the group at the meeting.


History of Mystery: Pre-Golden Age. (1900-1920)

Early mystery authors/sleuths include

  • Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes
  • K. Chesterton: Father Brown
  • Maurice LeBlanc: Arsene Lupin
  • Austin Freeman: Dr. Thorndike (inverted tales)
  • Baroness Orczy: The Old Man in the Corner; Lady Molly of Scotland Yard
  • E.W. Mason: Inspector Hanaud
  • Ernest Bramah: Max Carrados
  • C. Bailey: Mr. Fortune
  • Samuel Hopkins Adams: Average Jones.
  • Melville Davisson Post
  • Jack Boyle: Boston Blackie
  • Arthur B Reeve
  • Carolyn Wells

Other early mysteries include

  • Victor Whitechurch: Thrilling Stories of the Railway
  • C. Bentley, Trent’s Last Case
  • Freeman Wills Crofts The Cask
  • E.W. Mason: At the Villa Rose
  • W. Hashew: The Man of Forty Faces
  • S. Fletcher The Middle Temple Murder (Project Gutenberg)
  • Pidgin, Charles F. (and J. M. Taylor). The Chronicles of Quincy Adams Sawyer, Detective.
  • Burton Stevenson The Mystery of the Boule Cabinet


The Locked Room & the Beginnings of the Golden Age.

By the mid-teens, a new form of the mystery gained popularity, the so-called “locked room” mysteries. An early puzzle-style mystery, the locked room presented the detective with a seemingly impossible situation. The reader is presented with all of the clues and is challenged to figure out how the murderer was able to kill and then vanish into thin air. 1

Early Locked Room Mysteries

  • Gaston Leroux The Mystery of the Yellow Room
  • Israel Zangwill The Big Bow Mystery


1 Adapted from The Complete History of the Mystery



Note: In addition to physical copies, many titles are available free of charge online through Project Gutenberg or via the library’s OverDrive and Hoopla platforms.

For help finding a title – physical, digital, audio, or video – see any Reference librarian.


SCHEDULE for 2019 Supper Sleuths

  • January 8:  The beginning. (1841-1899)
  • February 12:  Pre-Golden Age (1900-20)
  • March 14 (note Thursday):  Golden Age (1920-40s)
  • April 11 (note Thursday):  Pulp Fiction; Hardboiled Private Eyes
  • May 14:  Post War and Second Golden Age – Regionalism
  • June 11: Free Read
  • September 10: Post War and Second Golden Age – Inclusion 1982: year of the female PI
  • October 8: Post War and Second Golden Age – Specialization
  • November 12:  Third Golden Age? – New authors
  • December 10: Free Read

Supper Sleuths Archives