I read this for the free square in Detection Club bingo.
This makes a great companion to Martin Edwards other "encyclopedia" style book about classic crime, The Story of Classic Crime in 100 books. Between the two of them, they are roughly 900 pages of information about classic crime writers and their books.
tGAoM takes a deep dive in to the three primary members of The Detection Club - Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie and Anthony Berkeley Cox. We also get information about many of the additional members, both early and late, including Christopher Bush, E.L. Punshon, Christianna Brand, E.C. Lorac, Nicholas Blake and John Dickson Carr, among many, many others.
The approach is somewhat scattershot - definitely not chronological - and Edwards takes anecdotes and weaves them into concepts and then name checks and book checks his way through the section. This doesn't always work perfectly, but overall, he does an unbelievably skilled job of keeping the book moving forward at a good clip. I never got either bored or bogged down.
Martin Edwards has been almost single-handedly responsible for igniting my interest in classic crime fiction. Both tGAoM and TSoCCi100B, along with his wonderful anthologies published as part of the British Library Crime Classics series, have appeared at precisely the right moment that publishers like the British Library, Mysterious Press, and Harper Collins have begun reissuing books that are long out of print - many of them for less than the cost of a cup of coffee. This serendipitous fact, coupled with the Poirot project from a few years ago which rekindled my love of Agatha Christie (even her bad books are better than much of the tripe that is published today. Except for Passenger to Frankfurt. That book is an abomination), means that I've been obsessively seeking out and finding new authors to read, many of whom I had never heard of until I read Edwards two non-fiction additions to classic crime canon.
I'm not sure that this book will have wide appeal. I think it is more likely that it will have strong appeal to a narrow audience. As part of that narrow audience, I found it so much fun - like sitting down with a friend for a good gossip about some people whom we admire but who are altogether human, flawed, interesting, strange and occasionally brilliant.