Detective stories on show at Trinity


SHERLOCK HOLMES, Hercule Poirot and Father Browne are among the famous fictional detectives to be found at an exhibition launched in Trinity College Dublin last night.

Body in the Librarytraces the origins of the detective story in the mid-19th century to the crime genre’s first golden age in the 1920s and 1930s.

“We wanted to do something different and unexpected,” said Dr Charles Benson, keeper of Early Printed Books at Trinity College. “Holmes is still a character in the popular imagination,” he said.

“People are familiar with characters like Poirot from the television series, so it is nice to go back to the books,” Irish crime writer John Connelly said launching the exhibition last night.

“These books are a kind of primer,” he said, adding that the last 15 years has been a golden age for crime writing.

“It has just diversified, it’s not that anything has faded out, but these days there are so many different strands, you can trace it all back,” said Kathryn Norris, assistant librarian.

Almost all of the books are from the college’s collection, with the earliest book dating back to 1795.

A 1919 edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imaginationis among the more prized editions on display. Poe is considered to have written the first true detective story in 1841.

Also included is the best-selling detective novel of the 19th century, Fergus Hume’s The Mystery of a Hansom Cab.

It sold over a quarter of a million copies in one year.

A public conference on crime writing will be held at the college in April as part of the exhibition. The exhibition will run in the Long Room at Trinity College until June 14th.