The Golden Age of Crime: A Reappraisal

deadline for submissions: 
April 18, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Bournemouth University

The Golden Age of Crime: A Reappraisal

22nd – 23rd of June 2022 at Bournemouth University


The Golden Age of crime fiction, roughly defined as puzzle-based mystery fiction produced between the First and Second World Wars, is enjoying a renaissance both in the literary marketplace and in scholarship. This conference intervenes in emerging academic debates to define and negotiate the boundaries of Golden Age scholarship. 


As well as interrogating the staples of ‘Golden Age’ crime (the work of Agatha Christie and/or Ellery Queen, the puzzle format, comparisons to ‘the psychological turn’), this conference will look at under-explored elements of the publishing phenomenon. Joining us in this fascinating debate, keynotes will be given by Shedunnit creator Caroline Crampton, and Alistair Rolls of the University of Newcastle. This is a hybrid event, taking place at Bournemouth University as well as being live streamed. Please note that at least one keynote will be live streamed at this event, with our second keynote subject to COVID travel restrictions. 


We invite proposals for 20-minute papers or panel presentations of one hour. Topics can include, but are by no means limited to, the following:


Defining the parameters of Golden Age crime

The Queens of Crime (Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Josephine Tey, Gladys Mitchell)

Significant male writers of the Golden Age (John Dickson Carr, Anthony Berkeley, Ellery Queen)

Lesser-known Golden Age practitioners

Collaborative and round robin novels

Continuation novels

The Detection Club

Parody, pastiche, and postmodernism

Psychology and psychoanalysis

Meta-fiction and self- or inter-referentiality

The language of crime fiction

The Golden Age and social value

Nostalgia and heritage

Writing the past

Gender, sexuality, and queerness

Clues and coding

Crime and the Gothic

Magic and the supernatural

Place, space, and psychogeography

Reissues and rediscovery

Archival finds and innovations

The ‘Second Golden Age’

The influence of Golden Age crime writers on subsequent and contemporary writers

Interdisciplinary perspectives

Teaching Golden Age crime fiction


Organisers: Dr J C Bernthal (University of Suffolk), Sarah Martin (Bournemouth University), Dr Stefano Serafini (University of Warwick) and Dr Mia Dormer. 


We welcome academic and creative paper proposals. Please email your 200-word proposal and short biographical note to no later than 18th April 2022. Comments and queries should be directed to the same address.