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Death of the Reader

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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.

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

Cover image of Death of the Reader

Death of the Reader

Latest release on Jan 27, 2021

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 1 day ago

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: Knives Out by Rian Johnson - Movie Special

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We discuss the brand new murder mystery film Knives Out by writer-director Rian Johnson for our final episode of 2019. With a colourful cast, a clever puzzle and a tasteful balance between following and breaking genre conventions, Knives Out pains a modern murder mystery like no other. As acclaimed mystery writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) dies on the night of his 85th birthday, excessively Tennessean detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is summoned to solve a case as the truth takes him for a joyride around present-day Massachusetts. We also speak with the film's production designer David Crank on how the incredible sets of the film came together.

Dec 07 2019

30mins

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Rank #6: 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 #7: 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 #8: 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 #9: 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 #10: 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 #11: 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 #12: 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 #13: 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 #14: 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 #15: 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 #16: 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 #17: 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 #18: 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 #19: 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 #20: 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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