‘Who cares who killed Roger Ackroyd?’

Edmund Wilson
Edmund Wilson

‘Who cares who killed Roger Ackroyd?’ snapped Edmund Wilson, writing in the «New Yorker» in 1945. He refused to find out who did, because he’d already discovered that Agatha Christie’s books were garbage and that he couldn’t put them down. This is what you’d expect. Wilson was a literary prude, and detective stories are literature’s oldest profession. They do one thing, they do it once, then they go off to jumble sales and charity bookshops to do it for someone else – unless they feature Sherlock Holmes. He seldom turns up with Poirot and Miss Marple in trays of second-hand pulp, but haunts the libraries, loos and luggage of people like T.S. Eliot, Ronald Knox, Eric Newby, Vladimir Nabokov and Umberto Eco. He even made it into Edmund Wilson’s bedroom.

— John Pemble, reviewing «The Ascent of the Detective: Police Sleuths in Victorian and Edwardian England» by Haia Shpayer-Makov, in «The London Review of Books», Vol. 34 No. 2 · 26 January 2012

One Reply to “‘Who cares who killed Roger Ackroyd?’”

Comments are closed.