Curiosities

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)





Share this article

More from the Millions

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 [...]

Post a Response

Comments with unrelated links will be deleted. If you'd like to reach our readers, consider buying an advertisement instead.

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments that do not add to the conversation will be deleted at our discretion.