THE STONE HOUSE

a Gladys Mitchell Tribute site

 

Welcome to the Stone House, situated in the village of Wandles Parva, Hampshire, home of mystery novelist Gladys Mitchell's greatest creation, Dame Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley. Gladys Mitchell wrote prolifically from her first published novel, Speedy Death, in 1929 until her death in 1983. These pages celebrate the Golden Age mystery author and her works, and will hopefully provide information and suggest further reading to old fans and new acquaintances alike.

On the links to the left you will find biographical information and essays, including one--"Why Do People Read Detective Stories?" by Miss Mitchell herself. The bibliography is a work in progress; each month I'll be adding information on more titles. This is what you can expect to find:
* publishing history
* book's cover image
* story synopsis
* a rating, from one to five stars
* a personal review

THE GREAT GLADYS - photographed in 1969

I've attached ratings and subjective reviews as a way to entertain myself and to celebrate books that I find particularly good and memorable. As a true fan, I don't mean to criticize her lesser works, but rather to sort out and champion her many imaginative achievements. With an output of more than seventy books, quality of writing is understandably varied. Miss Mitchell herself was aware of this, going so far as to call a couple of her books "horrible" (check out the question and answer interview in the essay section if you want to know which ones). I would argue that Gladys Mitchell's most indulgent writing is still more entertaining than the humorless crime bestsellers clogging the market today.

Each title bibliography also includes a quoted phrase or passage from the book. This is a nod to Miss Mitchell's penchant for heading many of her book's chapters with appropriate classical or historical verse and prose; it also provides an opportunity to celebrate her marvelously unique way with words. If you've never picked up a Gladys Mitchell novel and you're wondering "What's the big deal?" (a phrase Dame Beatrice's secretary Laura might use), you may want to check out some of the critical essays. Barry Pike's interviews and articles are especially recommended; Nicholas Fuller has contributed a fine study on Mitchell's signature detective. And my own contribution, "Artistic Difference," tries to pinpoint what makes this author unique--for better or worse--among Golden Age mystery writers.

Your best bet? Pick up a Gladys Mitchell book--The Saltmarsh Murders (1932) and When Last I Died (1941) are both excellent, and reprints are not impossible to find--and see for yourself.

PLEASE make future visits to The Stone House. I'll add new material each month, and the accessed bibliography pages should continue to grow. I welcome e-mail, so if you have a comment, addition or suggestion, please write to me. Hope you like the site!

Jason Half

 

Unless otherwise attributed, all text content on this site is copyright 2015-16 by Jason Half. Please e-mail me if you have any questions.