"I enjoy, I suppose, the 'golden age' book. That's very much what I was trying to do in these books - to take that finite number of suspects, the genuine whodunnit style, but make it very contemporary, bring it up to date, and make sure this is a credible person with a credible back story for nowadays." (BBC)

When she, J.K. Rowling, says, ‘golden age’, is it a common noun for specific field’s golden era: in her context, detective stories being flourished? Or when you speak the phrase, do you have any special period in mind?

  • The phrase is most commonly used in "The golden age of piracy" ie- when pirates were at their peak, era of Edward Teach and others.
    – Invoker
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 13:51

1 Answer 1


She replies to your question in a sequent paragraph:

Referring to the "golden age", she said she was a fan of authors Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh, who wrote in the mid-20th Century.

Hence, she views the mid-20 Century as a golden age when superb crime fiction works were penned (or typewritten).

There's an article at Wikipedia on Golden Age, covering the origins of the term and its variations in different cultures. See also Golden Age as Metaphor.

The use of this term depends on the context. Rowling uses it metaphorically, applying it to her sphere of work (writing crime fiction).

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    Yup. And there's also the recognized Golden Age of Detective Fiction, which is exactly what JKR is referring to. (And she nails it in identifying Allingham as the best of a very good lot!) Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 16:52
  • @StoneyB Never heard of Allingham, but pigeonholed his "The Tiger in the Smoke" in my "to check out someday" list. The matter is, I once heard Rowling reflecting with love on "A Tale of Two Cities" in a radio programme, and that book turned out to be one of the best I've read. Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 16:59
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    Her, not him: Margery Allingham. She started writing entertaining potboilers in the 1920s, and became steadily deeper and more complex as she took her core characters forward into the 60s, so it will repay you to read her works seriatim: a fascinating study in an author's growth. Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 17:20

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