Edgar Allan Poe, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Detective Fiction
Dorothy L. Sayers not only established herself as a major writer of detective fiction but also as a major scholar of detective fiction. In her Introduction to Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery and Horror (1928), she argued that Edgar Allan Poe had not only created modern detective fiction, but he also created the five basic detective mystery plots on which all of detective fiction is based. Sayers analyzed Poe’s five detective stories to identify the elements that mystery writers have used over and over. For Sayers, the most important element of all was the “fair play” doctrine whereby the writer gives the reader all the clues before revealing who done it.