"When I told my agent a few years ago that I was going to write a detective story, he recovered as quickly as could be expected, but made it clear to me (as a succession of editors and publishers made it clear, later, to him) that what the country wanted form 'a well-known Punch humorist' was a 'humorous story.' However, I was resolved upon a life of crime; and the result was such that when, two years afterwards, I announced I was writing a book of nursery rhymes, my agent and publisher were equally convinced that what the English-speaking nations most desired was a new detective story. Another two years have gone by; the public appetite has changed once morel and it is obvious now that a new detective story, written in the face of this steady terrestrial demand for children's books, would be in the worst of taste…."
On the great Love question opinions may be divided, but for myself I will have none of it. A reader, all agog to know whether the white substance on the muffins was arsenic or face-powder, cannot be held up while Roland clasps Angela’s hand “a moment longer than the customary usages of society dictate.” Much might have happened in that moment, properly spent; foot-prints made or discovered; cigarette-ends picked up and put in envelopes. By all means let Roland have a book to himself in which to clasp anything he likes, but in a detective story he must attend strictly to business….
The detective must have no more special knowledge than the average reader. The reader must be made to feel that, if he too had used the light of cool inductive reasoning and the logic of stern remorseless facts (as, Heaven bless us, we are quite capable of doing) then he too would have fixed the guilt. ...
And now, what about a Watson? Are we to have a Watson? We are. Death to the the author who keeps his unravelling for the last chapter, making all the other chapters but a prologue to a five-minute drama. This is no way to write a story. Let us know from chapter to chapter what the detective is thinking. For this he must watsonize or soliloquize; the one is merely a dialogue form of the other, and, by that, more readable. A Watson, then, but not of necessity a fool of a Watson.
Bruce Montgomery, aka Edmund Crispin