The Detective Fiction of Christianna Brand

“Miss Brand has exhibited an ingenuity worthy of Agatha Christie in throwing us off the scent of the real criminal.”

Manchester Guardian, 6th April 1945

“Miss Christianna Brand makes a steady progress towards a place in the citadel occupied by The Big Five Female Who-Dun-It-ers.”

– John Hampson, Spectator, 6th April 1945

The works of Christianna Brand are quite simply brilliant.  Although she wrote only eight detective stories in the 1940s and early 1950s before retiring from detective fiction for two decades, those stories are enough to cement her reputation as the best of the post-classic detective writers.  Her stories all concern a closed circle of (at most) seven people, all of whom had equal motive and opportunity.  She keeps the reader darting from suspect to suspect, quite convinced that this time he’s managed to solve the business – until she very neatly pulls the rug from under him, showing the murderer to be someone he suspected early on and then struck off the list.  Her clueing is impeccable – as she wrote in her introduction to London Particular, every sentence counts either as a clue or as a red herring – yet so skilfully is this trick done that the reader never notices until too late.  All in all, Brand was a mistress of the genre.

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These pages copyright Nicholas Lester Fuller, 2000--2010. Created 4th December 2004.