As with so many art forms, so with detective stories: there’s a good argument that the best came first. But there’s a lot of great stuff that came later, too. Let’s hash out these propositions with reference to (a) the trailblazers, Poe and Conan Doyle, (b) the great apostle, Agatha Christie, and (c) the modern master, Raymond Chandler. To be read: Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Purloined Letter”; Conan Doyle’s “A Study in Scarlet” and “The Sign of Four”; Christie’s “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd”; and Chandler’s “The Big Sleep.” In all: two short stories, two long short stories, and two short novels. Copies of all are ubiquitous. All participants successfully completing this single-session course will be certified as hard-boiled Baker Street Irregulars (BSI) in the Belgian BSI Lodge. The class will begin with a moment of silence in tribute to Nancy Drew. If you don’t know who Nancy Drew is, this course may not be for you!
Peter Baylor is offering his fourth short-story course. He is, among other things, a septuagenarian husband, father, grandfather, friend, sibling, veteran, son (forever grateful to his parents), retired lawyer, and working tour guide. Peter borrowed this line from a college professor: “I do not propose to teach you anything; I am trying to share an enthusiasm. OK?”