"The British Library takes a quirky look at the history of crime fiction, from its earliest roots to the present day, in a new exhibition in The Folio Society Gallery, Murder in the Library: An A-Z of Crime Fiction. Featuring familiar and loved writers, such as Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle, alongside the obscure and unexpected, former footballer and England Manager Terry Venables and burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee to name but a few, the exhibition will showcase never before seen manuscripts, beautiful printed books, rare audio recordings, artworks and intriguing artefacts from the Library’s outstanding British and North American collections." You can some exhibit images on the exhibit Pinterest board.
Curated by Kathryn Johnson, Curator of Theatrical Manuscripts at the British Library, the exhibition will provide an A-Z of crime, from ‘A’ for Agatha Christie to ‘H’ for ‘Hardboiled’ to ‘Z’ for ‘Zodiac’, a nod to Soji Shimada’s The Toyko Zodiac Murders, an illustrated Japanese detective novel. Exhibition highlights will include:
Arthur Conan Doyle’s manuscript of the Sherlock Holmes short story The Adventure of the Retired Colourman published in 1926
The first appearance of Miss Marple in print in Royal Magazine (1929)
John Gielgud’s annotated script for the film of Murder on the Orient Express and photographs from his personal album of his appearance in Morse
Crime novels by such unlikely authors as former footballers, Pele and Terry Venables, and renowned burlesque performer and actress Gypsy Rose Lee
The Jigsaw Puzzle Murders (1933), an intriguing book with a real jigsaw puzzle providing the solution
Dennis Wheatley’s murder mystery ‘dossiers’ including physical clues, such as human hair, alongside letters and reports. The reader was invited to solve the crime and the solution provided in a section at the back (1930s)
Original material relating to historical real-life crimes such as the Road House murders (The Suspicions of Mr Whicher) and the 18th-century case of Elizabeth Canning which inspired Josephine Tey’s The Franchise Affair
A series of crime events will take place alongside Murder in the Library, including Real Crime Real Fiction and The Story of Crime Fiction, with panellists such as P D James Mark Lawson, Laura Wilson and Mark Billingham. Following the success of recent British Library crime titles, including The Notting Hill Mystery and The Female Detective, in March 2013 the Library will publish William Stephens Hayward’s Revelations of a Lady Detective (1864). The novel is the second ever to feature a female detective (pipped to the post by Andrew Forrester’s The Female Detective published in the same year and republished by the Library in 2012). Mrs Paschal, a much racier heroine, is shown smoking on the front cover – a modern and daring habit for women even in the late 19th century – and carries a Colt revolver, trailing suspects and searching houses. With an introduction by Mike Ashley, this very rare novel will be made available once again to celebrate Murder in the Library: An A-Z of Crime Fiction.
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