Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Murder she wrote

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c1469 (Published 18 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1469
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    Literature, like the living world, can be divided into kingdoms, orders, families, genera, species, and even subspecies. For example, there is the kingdom prose; the order fiction; the family novels; the genus murder detection; the species the English golden age of detective stories; and the subspecies murders that take place in prep schools.

    No doubt a Freudian might say that the very existence of such a subspecies is indicative of English attitudes to children or to education—or, of course, to both.

    One detective story in which the murder takes place in a prep school is Murder at Half-Term, first published in 1939, by Josephine Bell, the pen …

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