We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
The Secrets of Great Mystery and Suspense Fiction Lecture

The Secrets of Great Mystery and Suspense Fiction

Regular Price:$41.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

Great mystery and suspense writers have created some of the most unforgettable stories in all of literature. Even those who don't consider themselves fans of this intriguing genre are familiar with names such as Hercule Poirot, Sam Spade, Hannibal Lecter, and Robert Langdon, and understand the deep and lasting impact this writing has had on literature as a whole. An utterly captivating and compelling genre, mystery and suspense has leapt off the pages of the old dime store paperbacks, magazines, and comic books onto big screens, small screens, radio serials, podcasts, websites, and more. You'll find elements, characters, and references permeating popular culture and news reports worldwide, and bleeding into other literary genres such as romance, political thrillers, sports stories, and even biographies. Nearly 200 years old, the genre of mystery and suspense literature is only growing more popular.

How did it become so prevalent? Why is mystery and suspense a go-to genre for so many around the world? What makes the dark and sometimes grisly themes appealing? In 24 lectures of The Secrets of Great Mystery and Suspense Fiction, Professor David Schmid of the University at Buffalo examines these questions, as he guides you through an examination of the many different varieties of the genre, including classic whodunits, hard-boiled crime fiction, historical mysteries, courtroom dramas, true crime narratives, espionage fiction, and many more.

Fans of the genre will be delighted by the breadth and depth of information presented, guaranteed to uncover gems they had not yet discovered. But anyone, whether they are admirers of mystery on radio and film, or simply fans of literature, history, or pop culture, will find something to enlighten and entertain in this study of a genre with such tremendous impact.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2016 The Great Courses (P)2016 The Teaching Company, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (64 )
5 star
 (32)
4 star
 (20)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (2)
Overall
4.3 (51 )
5 star
 (28)
4 star
 (16)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.4 (55 )
5 star
 (32)
4 star
 (16)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Steven Bowman 03-14-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "not what I expected but enjoyable"

    I wouldn't say it's the secrets of mystery and suspense. this is more a history and complete treatise on the elements of the genre.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Massachusetts 12-05-16
    Carol Massachusetts 12-05-16

    Genre fiction, trashy to literary--mystery, action, sci fi, fantasy, and, yes, even romance. Also history. Listener reviews help a lot!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1634
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    254
    121
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    101
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I Admit I Cut a Few Classes"

    This course might have been better off with 30 or even 24 lectures instead of these 36 too-often painfully repetitious segments. Although the course outline looks like it would be inclusive and stimulating, in fact many of the lectures sound the same. I quit listening to several of them when what I thought was going to be a new and interesting topic became a reiteration of previous material.

    Not that there aren’t some enlightening and interesting lectures on a couple of unexpected topics such as "Latino Detectives on the Border" and "The American Dime Novel," but for the most part Professor Schmid keeps returning to a few favorite themes.

    The first and most repeated theme is the foundational (the professor is fond of such adjectives) roots of mystery and suspense fiction, which he attributes to Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie. It would be pretty hard to argue with these choices, but their work (especially Poe’s "The Murders in the Rue Morgue") is referred to so often, and usually using similar words to make the same points over and over, that I began to wonder whether we’d make it into the 21st century. We do in fact get there, and in the process spend a lot of time with The Private Eye, another pet topic--again a fair choice that I thought it was overemphasized.

    This is definitely a college “lit” course, of a type that emphasizes subjective analysis ("why does Dashiell Hammett tell us that Sam Spade's eyes 'burned yellowly'?") and literary criticism ("The noted critic xxx zzz has proposed that...."). It’s also a very academic presentation, heavy on the "here’s what I’m about to tell you, I’m telling you this, here’s what I just told you" formula. For what it presents, it is authoritative, and I did learn some interesting things, but it did not inspire me to explore the work of any of the new-to-me authors, or to try my own hand at mystery and suspense writing (at which I admit I would be awful, so that last is probably just as well).

    34 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-21-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    46
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Eye Opening and Enjoyable"
    Would you listen to The Secrets of Great Mystery and Suspense Fiction again? Why?

    I would so listen to this again. It was interesting and informative and I liked the narrator's personal views on certain subject matters. This lecture has turned me on to new reading possibilities that I would never have known about if not for this lecture. It made my work day more enjoyable as I listened while at the office.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Secrets of Great Mystery and Suspense Fiction?

    When Professor Schmid spoke of the Native American mysteries it perked up my ears. It sounded fascinating and now I'm interested in reading some of the books that were mentioned. I also liked when he talked about the Cozy Mysteries and how professor Schmid didn't find them low brow as some critics have stated. I like thrillers and suspense but a cozy mystery is very comforting to read and immensely enjoyable. Critics be damned but I am with Professor Schmid when it comes to the Cozy Mysteries.


    Which character – as performed by Professor David Schmid – was your favorite?

    There were no characters as this was a lecture and not a book. I liked the Professor's style of lecture. It wasn't wooden or pretentious. There was warmth and insight and knowledge and passion in what he had to say.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This was not a book but a lecture and so it mainly fascinated me.


    Any additional comments?

    I thoroughly enjoyed this lecture by Professor David Schmid and will be interested to listen to other lectures by him as I enjoyed the sound of his voice, the cadence in which he spoke, and his passion for the subject.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian O. 01-24-17
    Ian O. 01-24-17 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Identity Writing/Reading"

    Perhaps it was a means of padding the course, but the lectures that fixate on the race and gender of the writers and works were of far too much focus for me. I don't need to hear about the first [insert aspect of identity] writer. Nor do I need a seemingly forced review of every culture and race's offering. Clearly, some of the contributions didn't meet a conventional standard, and thus shouldn't have been touched upon. Alas...

    7 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Texas USA 11-27-16
    Amazon Customer Texas USA 11-27-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    91
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very interesting and entertaining!"

    Quite knowledgeable about the subject. I would like to introduce him to the pronunciation of the letter "g" at the end of the suffix "ing". To an American ear, it occasionally becomes confusing, as much as I generally appreciate a British accent. I was pleased to discover that I often anticipated the next topic of discussion from a general description. Two things I would have liked to be included: an unraveling of the plot of The Big Sleep, if one can be found, and something about the very popular books of J.D. Robb, which are a blend of police procedural, romance, and science fiction.

    5 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonymous 06-12-17
    Anonymous 06-12-17 Member Since 2016

    My name is B. Lloyd Reese. I like to listen to the Great Courses and certain fiction. I am also author of "In the Shadows of Myrmidons"

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "good look"

    this is a good look at the mystery genre. check it out if your interested

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted K 05-01-17
    Ted K 05-01-17 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boring as well as annoying"
    What disappointed you about The Secrets of Great Mystery and Suspense Fiction?

    I love mysteries, but this lecture series was boring. 1. The presentation was annoying. He used the word "why' so much that I started to wonder 'why' I continued to listened. 2. He spends a lot of time on obscure authors. Just one example, when he began the lecture on true crime, he first talked about sermons given after the execution of a criminal. Who would ever think a sermon was something to be read as an example of true crime. 3. He sometimes says things that reveals his biases and which is off topic. Example, he talks about the genocide of Native Americans as if it was an actual fact. If you look around, they are all over this nation. 4. He focused too much time on obscure writers and subgenres and then talks about their influence Another specific example. In one case, he talks about a writer who he say is little read but then talks about the author's influence on a genre.


    Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

    Yes. I am a fan of the Great Courses. I have bought four of them and I have checked several of them out of my local library


    Would you be willing to try another one of Professor David Schmid’s performances?

    No!!!!!


    3 of 22 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Amazon Customer
    5/2/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent Depth and Analysis"

    Fantastic listening to these lectures. Provided great insight into the history and how great mysteries are written. will enjoy them much more now. only thought is that he missed a section on medical mystery stories.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.