Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Certain Keen Prof at Cornell

From a Twenties American newspaper:

The startling fact has recently been disclosed in a survey of the bookstores of Ann Arbor that while students at Michigan read poetry and essays, and professors' wives read biography and novels, professors read detective fiction.


The professional proclivity for the epics of the plain-clothes man has become so universal and well established that it is recognized as an important item stocking all university town bookstores. Something in the way of mental relaxation is required by professional minds after a day of knotty problems, and the detective story finds a useful application in putting professors to sleep.

I'll be posting here some over the next week about one particular distinguished professor and the detective novel he published. (It should be familiar to some of you.)  Meanwhile, I leave you with this poetic masterpiece (I'm sure you'll agree), just to show you that I'm--to borrow from poet of rock Tom Petty--a complex kid who is not entirely about detective fiction.

A certain keen prof at Cornell
Musta thought mysteries were swell.
He only wrote one
But boy what a hon!
And soon of this all I shall tell.



  1. Probably wrong but is the book you are going to be talking about Morris Bishop's The Widening Stain?

    1. All I'll say is, it's not gonna be Cornell Woolrich!

  2. Well, it can't be one of the four professors I uncovered who wrote crime fiction while hiding behind pseudonyms. They all wrote more than one. One wrote a series that lasted over ten years. I've got a piece in the works for both my blog and CADS.