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A short history of Mystery Fiction

  • 1841: Edgar Allan Poe publishes the first modern detective story, "The Murders at the Rue Morgue," with the prototypical detective, C. August Dupin.
  • 1866: Emile Gaboriau publishes L'Affaire Lerouge (The Widow Lerouge), the first in his Monsieur Lecoq detective series, the successor to Dupin.
  • 1868: Wilkie Collins, already well known for his book The Woman in White, publishes The Moonstone, the first English detective novel (Poe's being short stories).
  • 1887: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle publishes A Study in Scarlet (46 years after Poe), which provides the world with Sherlock Holmes. In that story, he includes a Take That against Dupin and Lecoq.
  • 1910: Starting with the short story "The Blue Cross," G. K. Chesterton introduces the widely influential Father Brown.
  • 1912: R Austin Freeman invents the Reverse Whodunnit with the stories in his collection The Singing Bone.
  • 1920: Agatha Christie publishes The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the first with her detective Hercule Poirot.
  • 1923: Starting with Whose Body?, Dorothy L. Sayers gleefully lampshades the mystery genre so far with her Lord Peter Wimsey series.
  • 1927: Edward Stratemeyer (under the pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon) introduces the world to the Hardy Boys, probably the first Kid Detectives, in The Tower Treasure.
  • 1929: Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee, under the collective pseudonym of their hero, publish The Roman Hat Mystery, the first appearance of Ellery Queen.
  • 1930:
  • 1945: The Mystery Writers of America is founded.
  • 1949: Robert van Gulik translates and publishes Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee, introducing traditional Chinese mystery to Western audiences.