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0. FOREWORD


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 for pleasure.

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 individual words.

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 two sittings.

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.

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