Reading is an essential part of language
learning, and reading stories, detective stories at that, is undeniably one of
the most enjoyable ways of increasing one’s proficiency in a foreign language
as well as learning of strange social and cultural climates.
This book is intended to be used as a supplementary reader for the
student specializing in English at Institute or University level, or, in fact, for
anyone wishing to improve his reading skills and acquire the habit of reading
The student is expected to be well-grounded in the rudiments of English,
be sufficiently familiar with a wide variety of sentence patterns to understand
what he is reading even though he may not know the meaning of a number of
The chief criteria in selecting the stories was their readability,
cognitive and entertainment value. Another important consideration was the
length of the stories which should permit a reasonably rapid reading at one or
Apart from the generally acknowledged masters of the detective story,
the book includes authors whose names may not altogether be familiar to the
student, the idea being that the collection, arbitrary as it is, should be, at
least in part, representative of the detective story of today.
Whatever may be said about the literary merits or demerits of the
detective story with its principal aim of entertaining the reader, few will
deny that it persists as a viable branch of literature. Along with reading
enjoyment it provides the language student with knowledge of social and
cultural settings in English-speaking countries, and acquaints him with various
social accents of English as spoken on both sides of the Atlantic.
The book comprises thirteen stories. An attempt has been made to arrange
the stories in order of increasing language difficulty; but on such matters
opinions will differ. The first two stories have been deliberately chosen from
Longmans’ Simplified English Series and similar other sources to ensure smooth
transition to completely unadapted prose.
Appended to the book are reading notes and a set of exercises. The notes
are on points where help may be found useful, explaining difficulties that
often cannot be solved by reference to a dictionary.
Exercises (a) and (b) are designed to lead the student to refer
constantly to the text and in this way get the fullest benefit from reading it.
Exercise (c) suggests talking points which may serve as a stimulus to
discussion, should any of the stories be taken up for work in the classroom. It
may be appropriate to note here that not all discussions need necessarily be
arguments or debates.
Finally, it is hoped, that this book will give the
language student confidence and enjoyment in reading English as well as help improve
his general language performance.