Saturday, January 26, 2013

Guessing Contest: Todd Downing Edition

Which authors do you think were most reviewed  in Todd Downing's mystery book review column in the 1930s (these reviews are collected in my Clues and Corpses: the Detective Fiction and Mystery Criticism of Todd Downing)?

See if you can correctly rank Downing's fifteen most reviewed authors, in order from most reviewed of the fifteen to least reviewed of the fifteen. Winner (determined on points) gets a hardcover mystery by either Andrew Garve, Anthony Gilbert, E. C. R. Lorac, John Rhode or R. A. J Walling (you'll get some choice of books).

I think I will have to confine the prize to American and Canadian viewers, because of shipping expenses (unless you want to pay shipping; the book would still be free of course), but everyone can compete for the sheer honor of it of course!  Click my "about me" (upper right on this page) to get my email address on my about me page and put the label Downing Contest in the subject area.  Also give me at least your first name.

I'll have to close the contest after Sunday, because some people will be getting the book next week and they will be able to determine the correct ranking for themselves!

Here are the fifteen authors you have to rank in order from most reviewed to least reviewed (I've listed them alphabetically and included secondary pseudonyms):

Herbert Adams
H. C. Bailey
John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson
Agatha Christie
Mignon Eberhart
Harry Stephen Keeler
Rufus King
Eden Phillpotts
Milton Propper
Ellery Queen/Barnaby Ross
John Rhode/Miles Burton
Dorothy L. Sayers
Carolyn Wells
Patricia Wentworth
Anthony Wynne

How many of these authors had you heard of, by the way?  Or read?  Coming in behind this group above, by the way, to make the top 25 are Anthony Abbot, Hugh Austin, G.D.H. and Margaret Cole, J. S. Fletcher, Walter S. Masterman, Darwin Teilhet, Sir Basil Thomson, John V. Turner (aka Nicholas Brady and David Hume), S. S. Van Dine and Valentine Williams.

There are plenty of additional authors reviewed too, including the hard-boiled, like Dashiell Hammett, Jonathan Latimer and George Harmon Coxe, and psychological crime novelists like Elisabeth Sanxay Holding and Marie Belloc Lowndes.  Lots to love!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Hey, Patrick, I saved your guess but deleted your comment, in order to preserve the anonymity of your guess!

    1. As long as you have the list that should be fine -- I'm afraid I accidentally closed the Word file with my guesses on it!