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84 EpisodesProduced by Caroline CramptonWebsite

Unravelling the mysteries behind classic detective stories

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Dorothy L Sayers Solves Her Mystery (Queens of Crime at War 6)

November 24th, 2021


Why did she stop writing detective fiction as WW2 approached?

This is the sixth and final episode of Queens of Crime at War, a six part series …

Ngaio Marsh Goes Home (Queens of Crime at War 5)

November 17th, 2021


Caught between two very different worlds, WW2 forced this queen of crime to become better acquainted with her homeland.

This is the fifth episode of Queens of Crime at War, a six part series looking at what the best …

Josephine Tey's Golden Age (Queens of Crime at War 4)

November 10th, 2021


Something happened to the Scottish writer during WW2 that made her want to write mysteries again.

This is the fourth episode of Queens of Crime at War

Margery Allingham Waits For The Invasion (Queens of Crime at War 3)

November 3rd, 2021


For Albert Campion's creator, the war was her salvation.

This is the third episode of Queens of Crime at War, a six part series looking at what the …

E.C.R. Lorac Rises Through The Ranks (Queens of Crime at War 2)

October 27th, 2021


Her WW2 mysteries are best of all.

This is the second episode of Queens of Crime at War, a six part series looking at what the best writers from the …

Agatha Christie Writes Alone (Queens of Crime at War 1)

October 20th, 2021


Agatha Christie had a very productive WW2.

This is the start of Queens of Crime at War, a six part series looking at what the best writers from the …

At Home With Shedunnit

October 6th, 2021


Who would be the Hastings to your Poirot? What kind of mystery would you like to write? What would you do if you came across a corpse? In this …

Double Trouble

September 22nd, 2021


What happens when two people write a whodunnit together?

Thanks to my guests, Cordelia Biddle and Steve Zettler. They write separately under their …

The Theatrical World of Agatha Christie

August 25th, 2021


Agatha Christie was the most successful female playwright of all time. She also wrote some detective novels you might have heard of.

Julius Green is …

Murder On Holiday (Replay)

August 11th, 2021


This summer, you can still travel to the murderous destinations visited by your favourite detectives.

While I take a holiday myself, please enjoy …

Is Agatha Christie A Good Writer?

July 28th, 2021


Her plots are second to none. But is the Queen of Crime a true literary great?

Thanks to my guest, Sophie Hannah. Her latest Poirot continuation novel is The Killings at Kingfisher Hill and is available from all good …

The Murder At Road Hill House

July 14th, 2021


This sensational case from 1860 ignited a wave of detective fever that we still haven't recovered from.

Thanks to my guest Robin Stevens — you can …

Agatha Christie's England

June 30th, 2021


Where is St Mary Mead, anyway?

My guide to Agatha Christie's England is now available to pre-order from the publisher at (ships …

Young Sleuths

June 15th, 2021


Young detectives, and young readers, play an important part in the history of detective fiction.

Many thanks to my guest, Maureen Johnson. Her newest YA mystery, The Box in the Woods, is out now. Find out more at her …

Golden Age Inspiration

June 1st, 2021


How do you write a 1920s style detective novel that's set in the 2020s?

Thanks to Elly Griffiths, aka Domenica De Rosa, for joining me today to talk …

Policing the Detectives

May 19th, 2021


Many thanks to my guest, Nicole Glover. More information about her work is available at, and her first book, The Conductors, is …

A Century of Whodunnits

May 4th, 2021


Reading through the twentieth century, one murder mystery at a time.

Find more information about this episode at

The ten …

Swan Song

April 20th, 2021


How do you say goodbye to a beloved detective? Agatha Christie, of course, made a mystery out of it.

Thanks to my guest, Mark Aldridge. You can find out more about his work at and order a copy of his …

The Many Afterlives of Hercule Poirot

April 6th, 2021


There aren’t many characters who are recognisable just from a silhouette, but Hercule Poirot is one of them.

Thanks to my guest, Mark Aldridge. You …

Cryptic Crimes

March 24th, 2021


If you can solve a crossword, you can solve a murder.

Thanks to my guest, Hamish Symington. You can find out more about his work at

The Honkaku Mysteries

March 10th, 2021


Exploring the thriving tradition of classic Japanese whodunnits.

Thanks to my guests, On Nomoto, grandson of honkaku writer Seishi Yokomizo, and Daniel Seton, commissioning editor at Pushkin Press.

No major spoilers …

Queer Clues (Replay)

February 24th, 2021


First aired in November 2018, this classic Shedunnit episode is all about the coded gay characters and references in books from the golden age of …

The First Whodunnit

February 10th, 2021


What was the first murder mystery, really?

No major spoilers about clues or endings in this episode. However, there is some mention or discussion of the books listed below.

Sources and further information:

The …

The People's Pathologist

January 27th, 2021


Before there was CSI, there was Bernard Spilsbury.

No major spoilers about clues or endings in this episode. However, there is some mention or discussion of the books listed below. Please be aware there is a brief …

Poison Pen

January 13th, 2021


Nothing could bad could possibly happen here, the inhabitants of the peaceful English village say to each other. Until the first poison pen letter …

A Christie for Christmas

December 16th, 2020


The original golden age of detective fiction in the 1920s followed on from a devastating global pandemic. Is it any wonder, then, that we’ve read so …

The Christie Completists

December 9th, 2020


I’ve read a lot of Agatha Christie, but I’ve never read all of her books in order. What insights are there to be had by doing so? Christie completists Catherine Brobeck and Kemper Donovan of the All About Agatha podcast

Spoiler Warning (No Spoilers)

November 25th, 2020


Is it still worth reading a whodunnit if you know… who done it?

Thanks to my guests Jim Noy of The Invisible Event and Kate Jackson of Cross Examining Crime. Jim is on Twitter @invisible_event and Kate is @ArmchairSleuth

Death Sets Sail On The Nile

November 18th, 2020


To get to the bottom of why the Nile is a murder mystery location that has bewitched readers for decades, I decided to talk to an author who has just published an Egypt based whodunnit: Robin Stevens. We talk about how …

Peace At Last

November 11th, 2020


The day the First World War ended, 11 November 1918, marked the beginning of a new era in which detective fiction would flourish. How did Britain go …

The Butler Did It

October 28th, 2020


Snobbery and murder, all served up perfectly for you on a silver tray.

This episode marks the start of the Shedunnit Pledge Drive! If I can add 100 new members to the Shedunnit Book Club by the end of 2020, I can start …

The Psychology of Anthony Berkeley

October 14th, 2020


He was one of the most influential crime novelists of the 1920s and 1930s, but has languished somewhat in obscurity since. A troubled, dark, incredibly innovative writer: to really get to know Anthony Berkeley, you need …

The Telephone Call

September 30th, 2020


Why has the murder of Julia Wallace on the night of 20 January 1931 haunted detective novelists for decades? Well, it all comes back to the telephone …

Locked Room

September 16th, 2020


A body is found in a sealed chamber, definitely murdered, but there is no way the culprit can have got in or out. How was it done?

Special thanks to …

The Lifelong Fan

September 2nd, 2020


Renée read her first detective novel in the 1930s. She hasn’t stopped since.

Special thanks to my guest Renée. Her first crime novel is The Wild Card.

Become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club and get bonus audio, …

The Detection Club

August 19th, 2020


It started with dinner and ended with a group of crime writers swearing an oath on a skull. Special thanks to my guest Martin Edwards. His latest …

A Room of One’s Own

August 5th, 2020


If a woman needs a room of her own and £500 a year to write fiction, what does she need in order to write crime fiction? Special thanks to my guest Francesca Wade. Her book is Square Haunting: Five Women, Freedom and …

Murder On Holiday

July 22nd, 2020


This summer, you can still travel to the murderous destinations visited by your favourite detectives.

Find links to all the books and sources …

42. E.C.R. Lorac

July 8th, 2020


She wrote over 70 detective novels and won the praise of that most stern of critics, Dorothy L. Sayers. Yet golden age author E.C.R. Lorac is now a …

41. Mary Westmacott

June 24th, 2020


Sometimes, Agatha Christie didn’t want to be Agatha Christie. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at Become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club and get bonus audio, listen …

40. Dorothy’s Secret

June 10th, 2020


There was one thing that Dorothy L. Sayers never told anyone. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at …

39. Cui Bono?

May 27th, 2020


It’s not who, or how, but why. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at Become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club and get bonus audio, listen to ad free episodes and join a …

38. The Collectors

May 13th, 2020


The perfect collection is never complete. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at Become a member of …

37. Bedside Manner

April 29th, 2020


Is that smiling nurse in the pristine white cap here to save your life, or to bring it to an untimely end? Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at Become a member of the …

36. The Hay Poisoner

April 15th, 2020


All the best murder mysteries start with a scone laced with arsenic. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at Become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club and get bonus audio, …

35. The Dispenser

April 1st, 2020


There’s a reason why Agatha Christie knew so much about poisons. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at Thanks to today’s sponsor, Best Fiends. You can download Best Fiends …

34. Happily Ever After

March 18th, 2020


What would Peter Wimsey be without Harriet Vane? Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at Thanks to …

33. All At Sea

March 4th, 2020


 What could be a better place for a murder than a boat, out at sea? Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at …

32. The Pale Horse

February 19th, 2020


To download the mp3 of this episode click here. How Agatha Christie’s spooky story inspired real life murderers and detectives. A friendly warning: there are major spoilers for The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie in this …

31. The Great Gladys

February 6th, 2020


To download the mp3 of this episode click here. On Philip Larkin, a reptilian sleuth with a mellifluous voice, and a small amount of witchcraft. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at …

30. Teaching Sleuthing

January 22nd, 2020


Detective fiction has always been regarded as a lesser kind of literature. So how do you teach it in a university? Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at Special thanks …

29. Victorian Pioneers

January 8th, 2020


Decades before Miss Marple, there were Victorian lady sleuths taking on the world with their bloomers and their bicycles. Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at Special …

28. Let It Snow

December 11th, 2019


Snow is a very powerful tool for a detective novelist. It can create a sinister atmosphere, keep suspects and murderer stormbound, and preserve the …

27. Competent Women

November 27th, 2019


Anne Bedingfield, Emily Trefusis, Lucy Eyelesbarrow: why is it that Agatha Christie’s adventurous, highly competent young women never get to become recurring sleuths? Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at …

26. Notable Trials

November 13th, 2019


How did a legal history series become so well known that even Lord Peter Wimsey owned a set? Find links to all the books and sources mentioned at Special thanks today to my guest Dr …

25. The Mutual Admiration Society

October 30th, 2019


One chilly night in November 1912, a group of young women gathered together to share their writing with each other. From that meeting, we got Peter Wimsey, Harriet Vane, and so much more besides. Find links to all the …

24. Enter The Watson

October 16th, 2019


The detective’s sidekick is a fundamental building block of the classic whodunnit. But they don’t often get full credit for the vital role they play …

23. Off The Rails

October 2nd, 2019


There’s something so linear and definite about a train journey — it can only take you from A to B, with no possible deviations. Except when murder intervenes, and throws everything off the rails. Find links to all the …

22. Knock Knock

September 18th, 2019


Even the best detectives get stuck during their cases. Wouldn’t sleuthing be so much easier if the dead could speak to the living? Find links to all …

21. Brides In The Bath

September 4th, 2019


Once is an accident. Twice is a coincidence. But three times? Three women dead in identical circumstances is highly suspicious. This is the story of the brides in the bath. Find links to all the books mentioned at …

Golden Age Detective Fiction (Words To That Effect)

August 21st, 2019


Today, we have the final episode in my summer break guest series: ‘Golden Age Detective Fiction’ from Words To That Effect by Conor Reid. It first …

A Novel Remedy (The Allusionist)

August 7th, 2019


Today on my summer break guest series, we have Helen Zaltzman of The Allusionist again (along with my husband Guy Cuthbertson) talking about the books we read to feel better when we’re ill — plenty of detective fiction, …

Alter Ego (The Allusionist)

July 24th, 2019


I’m taking a summer break from making the podcast, but I’ve roped in some friends to keep you entertained while I’m gone. Today, we have Helen Zaltzman of The Allusionist, with three pieces about alter egos in an …

20. The Lady Detective

July 10th, 2019


Meet Maud West, a real life lady detective from the golden age of detective fiction who lived a very colourful life — as well as sleuthing, she liked …

19. Back To School

June 26th, 2019


School is an enclosed world that breeds tension and suspicion and stress. No wonder it’s such a perfect setting for a murder mystery. Find links to …

18. Florence Maybrick II

June 12th, 2019


Her trial gripped the nation and tested Britain’s legal system to the limit. But what happened to Florence Maybrick? This is the second of a two part story — listen to episode 16 first at …

17. On The Thames

May 29th, 2019


The River Thames has always had a dark side. Its fast-flowing, tidal waters have long attracted those with something to hide. Find links to further reading and sources at You can order my …

16. Florence Maybrick I

May 15th, 2019


A shipboard romance that somehow became one of the most notorious domestic poisoning cases in British history. This is the story of Florence Maybrick. Check back for part two of this story on 12 June. Find links to …

15. Period Style

May 1st, 2019


Murder mysteries: if you believe the clichés, they all happened in the 1920s and 1930s, surrounded by flappers and butlers.  But let’s take a second to wonder — why is it that detective fiction is so closely associated …

14. Pseudonyms

April 17th, 2019


Authors’ names loom large when we think about detective stories. Yet many of them are pseudonyms, created just to appear on book covers. But why go to all this trouble? And what makes a good pen name, anyway? Find more …

13. The Secret Life of Ngaio Marsh

April 3rd, 2019


By any definition, the New Zealand crime writer Ngaio Marsh lived an extraordinary life. But who was she really, this globetrotting blockbuster author who divided her life between opposite sides of the world? Find more …

12. Round Robin

March 20th, 2019


Writing is usually a solitary pastime, yet a group of detective fiction authors in the early 1930s decided to work together on murder mystery …

The Other Detectives

March 6th, 2019


Some sleuths need no introduction. But other characters, also created by famous authors like Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, lurk in obscurity. In this episode, we're on the hunt for the other detectives.

Find …

Nurse Daniels

February 20th, 2019


On 6 October 1926, a woman went into a cloakroom in Boulogne, France and never came out. She was never seen alive again. Her disappearance captivated …

The Rules

February 6th, 2019


A good detective story has a recognisable rhythm and plot points. But how did these tropes come about? And what happens when you break the rules?

Dining with Death

January 23rd, 2019


Food matters in books. It helps to set the scene, build up characters and evoke a period, and it also symbolises comfort, security and domesticity. …

Edith Thompson

January 9th, 2019


On the morning of 9 January 1923, a brutal and horrifying execution took place at Holloway Prison in London. The condemned young woman screamed and …

Adaptations (with Sarah Phelps)

December 26th, 2018


For many people, their main contact with detective fiction is via film and television adaptations. For a huge global audience, Agatha Christie's work is as often watched as it is read. Any new production is greeted with …

Crime at Christmas

December 19th, 2018


Reading crime fiction from the early twentieth century is a really popular activity at Christmas. It's nice to curl up with a good whodunnit by the …

The Lady Vanishes

December 12th, 2018


On 3 December 1926, Agatha Christie left her home in the southern English county of Berkshire just after 9.30 in the evening. She drove away, taking …

Queer Clues

November 28th, 2018


The detective stories of the 1920s and 30s aren't exactly well known for being edgy, or at the vanguard of the struggle for gay rights. But there are queer clues everywhere in these books, if you only know where to look …


November 15th, 2018


The detective writers of the 1920s and 1930s weren't working a vacuum. They took a keen interest in the crimes of their time, often weaving elements from actual murder cases into their plots or referencing them …

Surplus Women

October 31st, 2018


After the First World War, there was a great flowering of female independence as more women chose to live single lives. This change, and the backlash to it, is all there to be found in the murder mysteries of the …


October 24th, 2018


For a couple of decades between the first and second world wars, something mysterious happened. A golden age of detective fiction dawned, and people …

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