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On-Air with Ken Elzinga

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Ken Elizinga, Robert C. Taylor Professor of Economics, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, joined On-Air with UVA to share his thoughts on Detective Fiction and COVID-19, along with the mystery authors he has been reading.

The author of more than one hundred academic publications, Ken Elzinga is also known for four mystery novels (under the pen name Marshall Jevons) where the protagonist employs economic analysis to solve the crime. The novels have been used in classrooms across the country to illustrate introductory economic principles, and have been translated into seven languages. The latest Marshall Jevons book is “The Mystery of the Invisible Hand“.

Ken Elzinga shared this reading list of “less known” (but once highly-regarded) authors.

  1. S. Van Dine: The Bishop Murder Case
  2. R. F. Keating: The Murder of the Maharajah
  3. Peter Lovesey: The False Inspector Dew (the detective is not really a detective) and A Case of Spirits (a ‘normal’ Lovesey mystery)
  4. Jacques Futrelle: The Problem of Cell 13
  5. Ellery Queen: The Greek Coffin Mystery
  6. K. Chesterton: Father Brown mysteries (Ken quoted from The Secret of Flambeau)
  7. John Dickson Carr: The Three Coffins (some consider the best of the locked-door mysteries)

Ken’s favorite contemporary mystery author: Anthony Horowitz (examples mentioned: Magpie Murders and The Word is Murder). Other contemporary authors Ken cited include: P.D. James, Carolyn Hart, and Ruth Rendell. Ken’s all-time favorite authors are: Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Dorothy Sayers. Ken’s favorite Marshall Jevons’ mystery is The Mystery of the Invisible Hand.