The Golden Age of Crime: A Reappraisal

deadline for submissions: 
April 18, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
J.C. Bernthal, Stefano Serafini, Sarah Martin, and Mia Dormer

The Golden Age of Crime: A Reappraisal

22nd – 23rd 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 both at Bournemouth University and online. Please note, at least one keynote will be online. Our second keynote subject to 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


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.


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