20 Rules for Writing Detective Stories

By posted at 10:15 am on December 10, 2010 1

“Secret societies, camorras, mafias, et al., have no place in a detective story. To be sure, the murderer in a detective novel should be given a sporting chance; but it is going too far to grant him a secret society to fall back on. No high-class, self-respecting murderer would want such odds.” -From the much-quoted 1928 essay by SS Van Dine, noted art critic and mystery writer, on the 20 rules for writing detective stories. (via Guardian)

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One Response to “20 Rules for Writing Detective Stories”

  1. Sunday with Zin: the Zin List of Lists of Rules for Writers! | A Just Recompense
    at 9:28 am on October 7, 2012

    […] Wright): Twenty rules for writing detective stories from The American Magazine, 1928 (and referenced by Ujala Sehgal in The Millions on 12/10/10) – “16. A detective novel should contain no long descriptive passages, no […]

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