Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Correspondence School Detective

Here is an ancient (cyberspatially speaking) article ("Amateurs, Tough Guys, and a Dubious Pursuit: Crime and Correspondence Study in Popular Culture," 1992, by Von Pittman [link is now dead]) about the surprisingly enduring relationship between detectives and correspondence schools.

Besides Philo Gubb, the article also discusses mystery films, plays, and fiction as they impinge on the subject. Included:
SHERLOCK, JR. (1924), with Buster Keaton as a kind of Philo Gubb character.
 ~ THE MONSTER (1925), with Lon Chaney.
THE GHOST TALKS (1929), an early talkie.
 ~ HEARTS OF THE WEST (1975), with Jeff Bridges taking his revenge in the early days of film making.
~ Raymond Chandler's contempt for correspondence schools in several of his books and films.
~ THE MOUSETRAP (1952) has Agatha Christie using correspondence schools as an ominous plot point.
~ John Mortimer's Horace Rumpole using them to comic effect.
~ Ross Thomas.
~ Loren Estleman.
~ . . . and, of course, Donald Westlake.

Category: Detective fiction

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