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Death of the Reader

Updated 21 days ago

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Join Flex and Herds as they take you on a Murder Mystery World Tour in Death of the Reader. From classic British puzzles in the Golden Age of Detective Fiction to the weirdest of foreign detective fiction, explore everything in the grizzly world of the 'locked room'. Each week we'll feature academics, authors and more as we trace the influences of the genre around the world.

Read more

Join Flex and Herds as they take you on a Murder Mystery World Tour in Death of the Reader. From classic British puzzles in the Golden Age of Detective Fiction to the weirdest of foreign detective fiction, explore everything in the grizzly world of the 'locked room'. Each week we'll feature academics, authors and more as we trace the influences of the genre around the world.

Cover image of Death of the Reader

Death of the Reader

Latest release on Nov 29, 2020

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Join Flex and Herds as they take you on a Murder Mystery World Tour in Death of the Reader. From classic British puzzles in the Golden Age of Detective Fiction to the weirdest of foreign detective fiction, explore everything in the grizzly world of the 'locked room'. Each week we'll feature academics, authors and more as we trace the influences of the genre around the world.

Rank #1: No Crime in the Mountains by Raymond Chandler - Part Two

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We discuss chapters 5-9 from No Crime in the Mountains by Raymond Chandler. As the plot gets slowly more ludicrous, Flex derails the conversation to complain about Chandler's non-fiction writing about the Crime Fiction genre, including his very own set of rules. Herds is put to the task to determine if his own claim that 'if they give you the answer early, it must be a lie' is true. We're also joined by former 2SER Breakfast host Tess Connery, who after promising us a discussion on True Crime in April, decided to depart the station.

Nov 26 2019

30mins

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Rank #2: EXTRA: Twenty Rules for Detective Fiction by S.S. Van Dine

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What are these “Twenty Rules” Flex and Herds keep referring to on Death of the Reader? S.S. Van Dine was known originally as a zealous literary critic by the name of Willard Huntington Wright. After adopting the Van Dine pseudonym, he made sure that the game of detective fiction was played his way, and by his rules, with none of those damned tropes he saw other authors using. Listen in to hear us break down the full set of rules he wrote that defined his detective stories.

Jul 28 2019

25mins

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Rank #3: The Kennel Murder Case by S.S. Van Dine - Movie Special

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We discuss the 1933 film adaptation of S.S. Van Dine's Kennel Murder Case. Said by some to be one of the best detective fiction adaptations for the silver screen of all time, we talk about all the charms that help this film hold ground over 85 years after it was released. We also speak with Dr. Mike Grost, a murder mystery enthusiast who maintains one of the best online databases of detective fiction on his personal website.

Aug 12 2019

30mins

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Rank #4: EXTRA: The Ten Commandments of Detective Fiction

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You might have heard Flex and Herds discussing Ronald Knox's "Decalogue" on Death of the Reader - but what the heck is that anyway? In this bonus episode, we take you through the rules and what you need to know about them to prepare you for your new career as an amateur literature detective.

May 09 2019

18mins

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Rank #5: The Lerouge Case by Émile Gaboriau - Part One

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We discuss chapters 1-7 of The Lerouge Case by Émile Gaboriau, as we take our first steps outside of England in to the wide world of detective fiction. An obvious crime with no obvious culprit and no impossible alibi sees the gendarme call on our detective, Tabaret, to solve the murder of the Widow Lerouge. Can Flex cut through the seemingly endless coincidences that drive the story? Can Herds pronounce a single French word correctly? Probably not. We also have Dr. Keith Rathbone on the show to talk with us about the tumultuous context Gaboriau wrote in.

Jun 11 2019

30mins

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Rank #6: The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov - Part Two

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We discuss chapters 7-12 of The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov. Our favourite detective buddy-cop finally took a turn towards some action as Lije Bailey and Daneel Olivaw are left to outrun cultists on the strips of New York City, 3000 years in our future. Can the pair stay safe and solve the crime as it seems the very city itself is against them? We also sat down with Australian crime writer Sarah Bailey, winner of the 2018 Ned Kelly Award for best First Crime Novel with her book The Dark Lake.

Sep 23 2019

30mins

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Rank #7: House in the Mist by Anna Katharine Green - Part Three

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We discuss The Hermit of Street, and Chapters 3 and 4 of The House in the Mist, by Anna Katharine Green. How do these two stories, which have neither a detective, nor a murder to solve, fit within the genre of detective fiction? Were their mysteries "fair"? We also speak with Dr. Stephanie Russo about the origins of detective fiction through the gothic, and the way the genres critique the worlds we live in.

Jul 15 2019

30mins

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Rank #8: Too Many Cooks by Rex Stout - Part Three

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We discuss chapters 14-17 of Too Many Cooks by Rex Stout. The train draws ever closer and the sleep deprivation is getting to Nero and Archie. How can Wolfe take Van-Dine-esque psychology to a new level and pin the culprit? Was all this fair? We also chat with Nine Food and Wine writer Callan Boys about how you can avoid ending up like Philip Laszio when you discuss food with your friends.

Sep 03 2019

30mins

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Rank #9: The Three Taps by Ronald A. Knox - Part Three

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We discuss chapters 18-25 of The Three Taps by Ronald A. Knox. With the culprit revealed it's time to reflect back on how we got here and if the path we took was a fair way to uncover the puzzle. We also chat with Krissy Kneen about creating villains in the shadows and her book "The Wintering".

May 14 2019

30mins

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Rank #10: EXTRA: Dr. Mike Grost, and a Philo Vance Spoiler Discussion

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Hear our full chat with Dr. Mike Grost on S.S. Van Dine, and a spoiler discussion on both the Benson and Kennel Murder Cases. Our talk with Dr. Grost didn't all make it to air, and on this bonus feature you'll get the chance to hear more about Van Dine's prior career as an art critic, including his partnership with his brother, Stanton McDonald-Wright. After Dr. Grost, you can catch our spoilers-on-the-table discussion of both Philo Vance stories that we covered on the show.

Aug 13 2019

27mins

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Rank #11: The Floating Admiral by The Detection Club - Part Three

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We discuss chapters 9-12 of "The Floating Admiral" by The Detection Club. Special guest Sean E. Britten is in as we discuss if the story had a plan, Agatha Christie's solution and unveil the next book. We also speak to Sean about his own books and how he approaches fitting character in to a story that doesn't lend itself to anything more than spectacle.

Jun 03 2019

29mins

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Rank #12: The Lerouge Case by Émile Gaboriau - Part Two

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We discuss chapters 8-14 of The Lerouge Case by Émile Gaboriau, continuing our escapade into the strange romances of 19th century France. As the Viscount Albert de Commarin seems to have all the evidence on display, do we condemn him to the gallows, or is there something more at hand? We also have independent playwright Andrew Fallon in to talk about adapting Murder Mysteries for the stage, as well as his production The Last Temptations of Templeton.

Jun 17 2019

30mins

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Rank #13: The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov - Part One

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We discuss chapters 1-6 of The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov. This pioneering Sci-Fi Murder Mystery was Asimov's response to the idea that Sci-Fi and Mystery were contradictory fields, but does his response prove him wrong or right? We follow the dysfunctional pairing of Elijah Bailey and R. Daneel Olivaw as they attempt to solve a murder they haven't even seen. We also chat with Australian crime writer Sulari Gentill, author of the Rowland Sinclair mystery series about her work and Sydney's BAD Crime Writer's Festival.

Sep 10 2019

30mins

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Rank #14: The Floating Admiral by The Detection Club - Part One

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We discuss chapters 1-4 of "The Floating Admiral" by The Detection Club. In this challenging puzzle with 14 authors, each bringing their own solution to the table, can Herds work his way to a truth in time? We also speak with the former president of the Detection Club, Simon Brett, about his own detective, Charles Parish, and his time as the chairman.

May 20 2019

30mins

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Rank #15: The Benson Murder Case by S.S. Van Dine - Part Two

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We discuss chapters 9-18 of The Benson Murder Case, by S. S. Van Dine. With a signed confession from a suspect, is there any more room for reasoning, or is it time to turn in for the night? We also speak with Daniel McMahon, writer and voice actor for L.A. Noire, about adapting murder mystery for interactive mediums, and the experiences he had in turning true crimes into mystery crime fiction.

Jul 28 2019

30mins

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Rank #16: Sins for Father Knox by Josef Škvorecký - Part One

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We discuss the first three stories in Sins for Father Knox by Josef Škvorecký; An Intimate Business, Mistake in Hitzungsee and The Man Eve Didn’t Know from Adam. Decades after Father Ronald Knox defined the rules of fair play for Murder Mystery Fiction, a brave Czech came along to break them all and tell wild tales along the way. Our stories follow Lieutenant Boruvka and Eve Adam as they traipse their way around the world solving crime. We're also joined by Professor John Scott from Queensland University of Technology, co-editor for the International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy.

Oct 30 2019

30mins

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Rank #17: Too Many Cooks by Rex Stout - Part One

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We discuss chapters 1-6 of Too Many Cooks by Rex Stout. Our detective Nero Wolfe and his trusty aide, Archie Goodwin, are invited to Kanawha Spa by some of the world's greatest chefs, but their food extravaganza is abruptly interrupted, when the one chef that everyone was planning to kill is murdered. Will a reluctant Wolfe even try to solve the crime? We also spoke with cozy-crime author Lucy Burdette on the fine art of food-related crime and her Key West series.

Aug 20 2019

30mins

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Rank #18: The Floating Admiral by The Detection Club - Part Two

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We discuss chapters 5-8 of "The Floating Admiral" by The Detection Club. How successful were the many authors at creating a tenable game? We also spoke with Dr. Malcolm Ryan from Macquarie University about Game Design and its relation to detective fiction.

May 27 2019

30mins

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Rank #19: The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov - Part Three

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We discuss chapters 13-18 of The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov. Has Herds finally scored points? Was this puzzle fair? Our normal post-novel breakdown takes a turn as Flex realises his allegedly infallible methods may have let him down. We also chat with Transhumanism Australia co-founder Peter Xing about how our society reflects what Asimov predicted, and what we should expect as our technologies expand in scope, plus Transhumanism Australia's campaign to get ageing classified as a disease.

Sep 23 2019

30mins

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Rank #20: The Benson Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine - Part One

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We discuss chapters 1-8 of The Benson Murder Case, by S. S. Van Dine. An overzealous art critic turns his detest of detective fiction into a series of its own, but does it hold up on its own? Flex is up against the infallible (and insufferable) Philo Vance to solve this crime before the culprit escapes. We also speak with 2SER News Director Geoff Field about the salacious life and history of S. S. Van Dine, AKA Willard Huntington Wright.

Jul 22 2019

30mins

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The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino - Part Two

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We discuss chapters 8-14 of The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino. Detective Galileo's hunt is concluded but he won't let Kusanagi in on the final conclusion, and the tension continues to build even while the events of the novel themselves have been fairly understated. Yasuko's new partner Kudo has also entered the scene, building towards what promises to be an emotionally charged climax to a novel that continues to push the boundaries of what seems possible for a showdown between to mathematics nerds.

Nov 29 2020

30mins

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The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino - Part One

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We discuss chapters 1-7 of The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino. First of the few in the Detective Galileo series to be translated to English, our story begins following a mathematics teacher by the name of Ishigami who swoops in to help his neighbour cover up a murder she has committed. With our murder, culprit and method shown in the opening chapters of the story, the cat-and-mouse game between Ishigami and his former classmate Yukawa Manabu - Detective Galileo himself - is on. You do not want to miss this book. We also have a short clip of our extended interview with Stella Duffy, the author of Money in the Morgue, our second book for 2020.

Nov 22 2020

30mins

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EXTRA: Stella Duffy on Money in the Morgue

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Full spoilers in this one! We finally got the chance to sit down with Stella Duffy to chat about her amazing work with Money in the Morgue. After the team at Harper Collins approached her with just four chapters and notes from an incomplete Ngaio Marsh novel, she managed to work it into a brilliantly authentic love-letter to Marsh while bringing her work comfortably in the modern day. We talk about how the project came about, how much free reign there was, and how important the original work of Marsh was to the project.

Nov 19 2020

29mins

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Sayonara Slam by Naomi Hirahara - Part Three

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We discuss chapters 12-16 of Naomi Hirahara's Sayonara Slam. After warming our hearts with this personal, cozy tale, how does the mystery of Yuki's death hold up towards the end. Loose evidence, and a police-procedural approach to the narrative have Flex and Herds skeptical of the game, but the narrative keeps it strong. As each of our suspects is resolved and their true motivations revealed, will the lessons push Mas to reach back out to Genessee? We also speak to Eastlake Dojo's Tony Arashiro about his experience bringing Okinawan culture to San Diego through their Ryuei Ryu style.

Nov 15 2020

30mins

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Sayonara Slam by Naomi Hirahara - Part Two

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We discuss chapters 7-11 of Naomi Hirahara's Sayonara Slam. As the stakes continue raising and Mas Arai finds himself deeper and deeper in trouble, Mas' personality shines through confrontation after confrontation. The killer continues to evade Yuki but the veil is beginning to drop as the grim history of the community's experience with World War 2 creeps towards centre stage. Blending the personal and political beautifully, the police-procedural style approach lets the heart of the novel really shine as we approach the unveiling of the truth.

Nov 08 2020

30mins

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EXTRA: Naomi Hirahara on Sayonara Slam & Clark and Division

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Hear our full chat with Naomi Hirahara about her book Sayonara Slam as well as her upcoming work, Clark and Division. From the importance of journalism to the Japanese American community to the evolution of Mas Arai as a character, we pry into the heart behind Sayonara Slam and the broader Mas Arai series. We're only talking chapters 1-6 of Sayonara Slam so no worries about spoilers, get subscribed to hear the rest of our coverage of Sayonara Slam!

Nov 07 2020

18mins

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Sayonara Slam by Naomi Hirahara - Part One

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We discuss chapters 1-6 of Naomi Hirahara's Sayonara Slam. As retiree Mas Arai finds himself embroiled in the murder of a young Japanese journalist alongside a show-game between Korea and Japan at Dodger Stadium in his home city of Los Angeles. Another young Japanese journalist approaches Mas to help him investigate the death. This may be Mas' 6th time around the murder mystery block, but will he be able to help Yuki unravel this one? We also speak with Naomi Hirahara herself about the book, her history with Mas and the importance of stories like this to the Japanese American community.

Nov 01 2020

30mins

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EXTRA: Craig Sisterton on Southern Cross Crime

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We have a long chat with Craig Sisterton about his new book Southern Cross Crime, as well as the Southern Cross scene itself! Craig is the expert when it comes to Australian and New Zealand Crime, having spent more than a decade reviewing the field, as well as founding the Ngaio Marsh Awards and Rotorua Noir. We talk about the evolution of the community in Australia and New Zealand, the importance of awards, as well as how much more open the world at large is becoming to our antipodean style of crime. We also speak about how Jock Serong's The Rules of Backyard Cricket has managed to be so impactful, and how wonderful the writing is.

Oct 25 2020

35mins

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The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong - Part Three

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We discuss chapters 15-19 in Jock Serong's The Rules of Backyard Cricket. As Darren Keefe's drive comes to an end, Jock Serong holds nothing back, dealing out the full moral punishment of the story in visceral detail. The ending stings, but that's the idea, as Jock joins us to give a small glimpse into why things had to end the way they did. We also look into how this story fits in with our normal murder mystery affair, and whether or not another book like this could make an appearance on the show. Our guest of honour is Craig Sisterton, seasoned crime fiction reviewer, founder of the Ngaio Marsh Awards and author of Southern Cross Crime, a guide to Australian and New Zealand Crime fiction.

Oct 18 2020

30mins

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The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong - Part Two

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We discuss chapters 9-14 in Jock Serong's The Rules of Backyard Cricket. While Darren is still stuck and injured in the back of a car, slowly trying to free himself. As his reminisces on a roller-coaster career continue, adulthood has finally arrived. Now competing for the Australian national side, Darren finds himself amidst scandal after scandal. Caught unawares in the middle of unscrupulous gambling, the 60-Grand-Man finds his family torn apart after his niece is kidnapped, and in court over the death of a teenager who died after a night out clubbing with him. Is there any escape from the boot or his past? We also chat with Jock Serong about the inspirations behind this tale, its reception and his new book, The Burning Island.

Oct 11 2020

30mins

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The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong - Part One

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We discuss chapters 1-8 of Jock Serong's The Rules of Backyard Cricket. Beginning with our protagonist, Darren Keefe, with a gunshot wound, tied up in the back of the car, it's immediately apparent that this is going to be a slightly different cricket story to the ones normally lining the average cricket fanatic's bookshelf. Exploring Darren and his brother Wally's youth as they go from being the rapscallion children of a single mother to competent professional cricketers, it's not your standard mystery affair but the questions come gnawing all the stronger for it. With Herds tied up in the boot to solve this one, can he evade the traps of this unconventional puzzle?

Oct 04 2020

30mins

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The Early Cases of Akechi Kogoro by Edogawa Rampo - Part Three

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We discuss The Dwarf by Edogawa Rampo. Closing out the collection, this grim tale takes us through murder, love, and the grotesque in what would become known as Rampo's signature tone. Surrounded by villains and with an unwitting housemaid as his assistant, can Akechi Kogoro get to the bottom of this case in time? With final points on the line the tension is high and Flex may finally be out of his depth. We're also joined by Paul Daley, Walkley-Award-winning journalist, to talk about the historical barriers that remain in place between Australian and Japanese cultures decades after World War 2, as well as how to find holes in your own understanding of other cultures.

Sep 28 2020

30mins

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EXTRA: Enola Holmes by Harry Bradbeer

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We talk about Enola Holmes, the new film based on Nancy Springer's mystery series of the same name. Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Sam Clafin, Henry Cavill and Helena Bonham Carter. Following alongside Enola (Brown), the wily sister of Sherlock (Cavill) and Mycroft (Clafin), this energetic adventure eschews many of the traditions of mystery (and to be honest, any mystery whatsoever), for a high-stakes romp through a London divided on a vote that could change the future. It's full spoilers and grumpy Herds, strap in and enjoy!

Sep 26 2020

18mins

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The Early Cases of Akechi Kogoro by Edogawa Rampo - Part Two

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We discuss The Black Hand Gang, and The Ghost by Edogawa Rampo, as part of the collection The Early Cases of Akechi Kogoro, translated by William Varteresian. As Rampo continues to walk the line between Conan Doyle and Van Dine, our two new cases show an interesting point in his career, as we look at his least favourite story "The Ghost", and why he saw it as a failure. Flex is also tasked to solve "The Black Hand Gang", with a metagame puzzle from Herds to boot. We're joined by Matt Sainsbury from Digitally Downloaded to talk about Rampo's influence and why he's underappreciated in the west.

Sep 21 2020

30mins

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The Early Cases of Akechi Kogoro by Edogawa Rampo - Part One

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We discuss The Case of the Murder on D. Hill by Edogawa Rampo, as part of the collection The Early Cases of Akechi Kogoro, translated by William Varteresian. Bringing the traditions of Western Murder Mystery to Japan, Rampo sets a tone that many describe as being akin to his namesake, Edgar Allan Poe, or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but we reckon he's actually a secret Van Dine subscriber. As Akechi Kogoro makes his way through his first case with his faceless narrator, will Rampo break one of the most important rules in all detective fiction? We can only dream.

Sep 14 2020

30mins

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Sherlock in Shanghai by Cheng Xiaoqing - Part Three

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We discuss stories 7 & 8 from Cheng Xiaoqing's Sherlock in Shanghai, translated by Timothy C. Wong. Abandoning our heroes Huo Sang and Bao Lang, our last two adventures take us through a ghost story, and an exploit of the South China Swallow. How does Cheng Xiaoqing fare, delving more into atmospheric mysteries, more akin to the later novels of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction? How can the dashing South China Swallow outplay a cast of less competent detectives? All that and more as we conclude this stunning collection.

Sep 07 2020

30mins

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Sherlock in Shanghai by Cheng Xiaoqing - Part Two

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We discuss stories 4-6 of Sherlock in Shanghai by Cheng Xiaoqing, translated by Timothy C Wong. Beginning with the lighthearted and thoroughly charming "The Examination Paper", this stretch of the collection seeks to explore the relationship between Huo Sang and Bao Lang. From the quaint, simple story of a missing sheet of paper to the grim ransom of a young child, Cheng Xiaoqing shows incredible range with his characters while maintaining the swashbuckling feel of his inspirations in Sherlock and Watson. We're also joined by Benjamin Stevenson to talk the world of the modern thriller, as well as his new book Either Side of Midnight.

Aug 31 2020

30mins

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EXTRA: Paul F Verhoeven on Electric Blue and Fan Culture

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Flex sat down with Paul F Verhoeven to talk the release of his new book Electric Blue. This follow up to Loose Units explores his parent's careers in law enforcement, as well as how Paul ended up on such a different path. We chat about his heartwarming exploration of Star Trek: The Next Generation's Dixon Hill, the importance of owning what you love, and the writing adventures of working with source material that is stranger than fiction. Also he gets Flex kicked out of his movie watching group, catharsis all around on this one.

Aug 27 2020

21mins

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Sherlock in Shanghai by Cheng Xiaoqing - Part One

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We discuss stories 1-3 of Sherlock in Shanghai by Cheng Xiaoqing, translated by Timothy C Wong. Beginning from a passion sparked by translating the works of classic western crime fiction, Cheng Xiaoqing's tribute to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle makes a stunning debut as Huo Sang and Bao Lang meet for their first case together, The Shoe. Wearing inspiration on its sleeve, this collection starts out with three charming stories that clearly seek to inspire and teach as much as they seek to be clever. With a different sense of justice and two young enthusiasts as our Sherlock and Watson, our latest short story collection is off to a strong start. We're joined by Paul F Verhoeven to talk the release of his new book Electric Blue, the importance of owning your inspirations and how to learn to love a story.

Aug 24 2020

30mins

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Good Murder by Robert Gott - Part Three

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We discuss chapter 10-13 of Good Murder by Robert Gott. After a contentious two episodes, Robert Gott thoroughly redeems himself as the comedy finally lands for Flex. William Power finds the town falling apart around him, literally, and as he faces the storm, Will continues to bungle the investigation as he descends into madness. Turning the traditional mystery ending on its' head, our criminal is brought to justice through the actions of our protagonist, but far from the way you'd normally expect. We're also joined once again by Robert Gott himself, talking about the role of William Power as a protagonist, the absurdity of mystery, and the importance of distinguishing malice from foolishness.

Aug 17 2020

30mins

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