This is an absolute delight. Edwards is not always the most reliable judge of quality in Golden Age fiction – or perhaps it would be better to say that our tastes don’t coincide, or even that he goes out of his way to be charitable in his assessments – but his knowledge of the genre and its practitioners is outstanding. This book is loosely based around a chronological account of the heyday of the Detection Club, from its genesis in the late twenties through to the post-war decades, and biographical information about many of the key members – not just the well-known names like Christie and GKC but the Coles, Anthony Berkeley, ER Punshon and so on. As with his previous book, The Story Of Classic Crime In 100 Books, he takes the reader on a tour of the genre, its nooks and crannies, its fashions and trends, its development and decline. Some of the biographical speculation is a little fanciful, especially when it comes to his theories about how authors’ personal lives affected their storytelling (he is very keen on the notion that the difficult or unusual love lives of people like the Coles, Sayers and Anthony Berkeley were clearly reflected in their books).