Death of the Reader

Death of the Reader

Join Flex and Herds as they take you on a Murder Mystery World Tour in Death of the Reader. From classic British puzzles in the Golden Age of Detective Fiction to the weirdest of foreign detective fiction, explore everything in the grizzly world of the 'locked room'. Each week we'll feature academics, authors and more as we trace the influences of the genre around the world.... Show More

Episodes

September 21, 2020 30 min
We discuss The Black Hand Gang, and The Ghost by Edogawa Rampo, as part of the collection The Early Cases of Akechi Kogoro, translated by William Varteresian. As Rampo continues to walk the line between Conan Doyle and Van Dine, our two new cases show an interesting point in his career, as we look at his least favourite story "The Ghost", and why he saw it as a failure. Flex is also tasked to solve "The Black Hand Gang&...
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We discuss The Case of the Murder on D. Hill by Edogawa Rampo, as part of the collection The Early Cases of Akechi Kogoro, translated by William Varteresian. Bringing the traditions of Western Murder Mystery to Japan, Rampo sets a tone that many describe as being akin to his namesake, Edgar Allan Poe, or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but we reckon he's actually a secret Van Dine subscriber. As Akechi Kogoro makes his way through his ...
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We discuss stories 7 & 8 from Cheng Xiaoqing's Sherlock in Shanghai, translated by Timothy C. Wong. Abandoning our heroes Huo Sang and Bao Lang, our last two adventures take us through a ghost story, and an exploit of the South China Swallow. How does Cheng Xiaoqing fare, delving more into atmospheric mysteries, more akin to the later novels of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction? How can the dashing South China Swallow out...
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We discuss stories 4-6 of Sherlock in Shanghai by Cheng Xiaoqing, translated by Timothy C Wong. Beginning with the lighthearted and thoroughly charming "The Examination Paper", this stretch of the collection seeks to explore the relationship between Huo Sang and Bao Lang. From the quaint, simple story of a missing sheet of paper to the grim ransom of a young child, Cheng Xiaoqing shows incredible range with his characters w...
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Flex sat down with Paul F Verhoeven to talk the release of his new book Electric Blue. This follow up to Loose Units explores his parent's careers in law enforcement, as well as how Paul ended up on such a different path. We chat about his heartwarming exploration of Star Trek: The Next Generation's Dixon Hill, the importance of owning what you love, and the writing adventures of working with source material that is strange...
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We discuss stories 1-3 of Sherlock in Shanghai by Cheng Xiaoqing, translated by Timothy C Wong. Beginning from a passion sparked by translating the works of classic western crime fiction, Cheng Xiaoqing's tribute to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle makes a stunning debut as Huo Sang and Bao Lang meet for their first case together, The Shoe. Wearing inspiration on its sleeve, this collection starts out with three charming stories that cle...
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August 17, 2020 30 min
We discuss chapter 10-13 of Good Murder by Robert Gott. After a contentious two episodes, Robert Gott thoroughly redeems himself as the comedy finally lands for Flex. William Power finds the town falling apart around him, literally, and as he faces the storm, Will continues to bungle the investigation as he descends into madness. Turning the traditional mystery ending on its' head, our criminal is brought to justice through the...
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August 10, 2020 30 min
We discuss chapters 5-9 of Good Murder by Robert Gott. As William Power continues to get himself further and further into trouble, the situation is complicated by his relationship with Charlotte, whose husband is rumoured to be the father of the child Polly Drummond was pregnant with upon her death. With William now receiving pressure from both the police and Charlotte, will he be able to weasel his way around his circumstance, or ...
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August 3, 2020 30 min
We discuss chapters 1-4 of Good Murder by Robert Gott. After Polly Drummond is found dissolving in the water tower of Maryborough, Queensland, the town is in upheaval. Chief suspect is our... hero? William Power leads the Power Players, his acting troupe, as they prepare to perform for the uninterested town. With the police on his tail and a poor attitude getting him in more and more trouble, Will Power's situation only gets wo...
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We discuss chapters 28-39 of All The Tears In China by Sulari Gentill. As Rowland is put to hell and back again by the bloodhound Inspector Randolph over the death of Bertie Middleton, hope of catching the true criminal seems to dwindle. Taking a gruesome look inside a British prison in 1930s Shanghai, will Herd's solution be enough to save Rowland from his grizzly death in the confronting conclusion. We're joined one last ...
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We discuss chapters 15-27 of All The Tears In China by Sulari Gentill. As the scale of crime escalates drastically and Rowland finds himself on the receiving end of explosions and high-speed violins. Pressure mounts to cave to business demands from the traders he was sent to delay, Rowland begins to doubt that he'll be capable of carrying out the mission his brother sent him for. With the Police only getting more aggressive, ca...
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We discuss chapters 1-14 of All The Tears in China by Sulari Gentill. Finding himself in political hot water with the Attorney General over his involvement with Egon Kisch on his last adventure, Rowland Sinclair is shipped off to Shanghai by his brother Wilfred to buffer a trade deal while the thread of trade embargoes to their buyers in Japan loom overhead. Seeing the opportunity for a break, Rowland's band of merry communists...
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We discuss Parts 4 and 5 of The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith AKA J.K. Rowling. As the wild ride comes to an end we see inside a truly twisted psychopathic mind of the killer, and learn just what the definition of insanity really is. Herds is ready to just about lose his mind as he deep dives into the mindset of the Greco-Roman heroes of old, and Flex explains exactly how his mind has been changed from one part to the next. ...
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We discuss Part 3 of The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith AKA J.K. Rowling. Flex is worried with this one, the adventure around London has been to so many unique places, from a designer clothes store to Cormoran’s nephew’s birthday party, to a fast food joint in downtown. It seems like these scenes are disconnected to each other but could there be a method to this madness? We get to know Cormoran’s employer, John Bristow, and h...
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We discuss Parts 1-2 of The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith AKA J.K. Rowling. Our hero, a crippled yet undeniable lady-killer Cormoran Strike is tasked by a local businessman John Bristow with solving the death of his adoptive sister, Lula Landry. Fallen from her own apartment block at the height of her celebrity fame, public opinion has ruled the death as a suicide. With Cormoran’s paycheck and Bristow’s mental wellbeing on t...
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We discuss both of the Guy Ritchie Sherlock movies starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Sherlock and Watson. With his signature stylings comfortably at home with the swashbuckling hijinks of Conan Doyle’s famous duo, Guy Ritchie dishes out one great film and a film. Whilst the first film proves a thoroughly enjoyable romp, the few problems it had seem only to exacerbate themselves in the sequel. We talk whether or not it’s wo...
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June 1, 2020 30 min
We discuss the first season of Elementary produced by CBS starring Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock and Watson. Taking Sherlock Holmes out of 221B Baker St and placing him in a New York Brownstone more reminiscent of Van Dine and Rex Stout’s work seems a peculiar move. After concluding its’ 7-season run in 2019, we take back a look at where it all began, talking about how being open about its use of Conan Doyle’s characte...
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May 25, 2020 30 min
We discuss the first season of Sherlock produced by the BBC starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock and Watson. Leading the charge in modern enthusiasm in Detective Fiction, this beloved, over-dramatised retelling of Sherlock Holmes in the modern day spawned countless debates over whether the absurdity of its plot devices and visuals actually led to a passable show. Revisiting it now, 10 years later, how does i...
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We discuss chapters 10-12 of The Sign of The Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It seems as though this book will be wrapped up neatly, until we take a sharp left turn and end up in 18th Century India. Flex and Herds once again must tackle blatant racism in an old murder mystery, can we finally put the topic to bed? Definitely not! Yet there is still merit to this ancient tale written far before our time. All is revealed and we discus...
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We discuss chapters 6-9 of The Sign of The Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As Sherlock Holmes drives himself closer to the villain of this tale, and the recovery of a stolen treasure, he brings all the charm he can muster by dressing up like an old fisherman and being captured by his own friend Watson, as well as employing a small army of street urchins in pursuit of the murderer! Sherlock is convinced the elusive peg-legged Jonath...
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