Finished Part 1 last night — Part 2 will be “The Rules of the Game.” So far, the structure seems to be similar to that of the beginning of The Story of Classic Crime (a few chapters on the origins of it all, then moving on to an exploration to what it all meant in terms of writerly approach), except that the focus is on the writers themselves here instead of specific books, and on the Detection Club itself of course — and on putting it all into the context of the era. For a 500-page, tiny-print brick it reads quickly, and so far II’m enjoying the ride and the insight into what the early 20th century writing and publishing world was like.
Interesting tidbits on marketing and writerly self-promotion in particular. Would these authors have enjoyed the changes that social media have brought in recent years? I think Berkeley in particular would have hated them — Christie not so much, perhaps, at least not initially; she’d have been quick to capitalize on the marketing potential, although one wonders what she’d have done about her “no photographs” rule; and if she hated the tabloids of her day, a Facebook / Twitter sh*tstorm might well have convinced her to leave marketing to her publisher after all. Sayers would likeky have seen the marketing potential, too, but she’d probably have found it an even greater challenge than Christie to maintain her privacy … hmm. One thing is certain, self-governed authors’ associations aiming at the promotion and monitoring of a certain level of class and substance in writing seem to be more called for today than ever before!