Thursday, April 2, 2015

An Analysis of the Crime Writers' Association List (British, 1990)

The CWA List. 

CWA 1990 Lists: (in ranked order) (by author)

When They Were Written or: These Are The Good Old Days.

Do novels need time to age in our memories in order to be accepted as great? Not necessarily. For the Crime Writers' Association 1990 list, the decade of the eighties was the best represented with 22 entries (counting Berlin Game, Mexico Set, London Match as one). The seventies held out for 12 entries. In contrast, the combined total before 1930 was 12, 13 if you include the acknowledgement of Conan Doyle's entire Sherlock Holmes short stories.

Although the Golden Age of Mysteries is said to have begun in the twenties, this decade had three. In contrast, the 1930s took off with 18 entries. The fifties also had eighteen novels acknowledged. The forties had 8 and the sixties, the most ephemeral and groovy of decades, had only 8 entries.

Crime Writers' Association by Decade.

<1920.  9
1920s.   4
1930s. 18
1940s.   8
1950s. 18
1960s.   7
1970s. 12
1980s. 22

The CWA List: The War Between Men and Women and Brits versus Yanks.

The 97 mystery novel entries were written by 64 authors with one collaboration between a man and a woman. Three authors were represented with four books: Dorothy Sayers, Raymond Chandler and Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine. Four authors had three novels: Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Dashiell Hammett and Peter Lovesey. Forty-one authors had single entries. 

With several female authors so prominent in the history of mystery writing, it surprised me that only 17 authors of these books were female while 47 were male. The 17 female authors accounted for 31 books and the 47 males, 67. 

Although there were several authors born in other countries, there were no ambiguities regarding where they lived during the productive writing careers. All of the authors were either from some part of the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) or were from the United States. The CWA favored Brits over Americans by a score of 52 to 12 authors and by a score of 78 to 19 when counting the books written by these authors. Other English-speaking countries accounted for none of the entries. Two of the female authors were American, 15 were British. Ten of the male authors were American and 37, British.

Next up: the subjects of their mysteries.

Links to the other lists.

Mystery Writers of America (1995) (in ranked order(by author)
Mystery Writers of Japan (1985) (in ranked order) (by author)
Mystery Writers of Japan (2012) (in ranked order) (by author)


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