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The Doctor in Detective Fiction With an Expanded Note on Dr. John Thorndyke

E. P. Scarlett, MB
Arch Intern Med. 1966;118(2):180-186. doi:10.1001/archinte.1966.00290140084019.
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My excuse, if one is needed, for discussing the detective story, is that in this confused age it is one of the topics equal to the time. Furthermore, it is an inescapable portion of the literature of this past century, virtually part of our daily life, and in its own right is deserving of attention rather than being passed by or patronized with a nod as a trivial form of recreation. It is at its best when marked by good characterization and good writing. I am not talking of so-called "thrillers" which to good detective novels are as chalk to cheese. Nor am I thinking of the modern crop of the genre, most of which are unfortunately adulterated, flawed by mass production, and tricked up with sex and violence. Detective stories are still written according to the classic formulas, but, except in the rarest cases, with only a shadow of


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