1940- Born in the UK, Stephen Knight came to Australia when he was appointed Teaching Fellow at the University of Sydney in 1963, then lecturer in English the following the year. He went on to hold senior positions at the Australian National University and the University of Melbourne, before returning to England in 1992 to take up a chair at De Montford University, Leicester. As well as numerous scholarly works in the area of medieval English literature, Knight's long held interest in crime fiction led him to him editing several anthologies of Australian crime stories. He was awarded the Ned Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.
Stephen Knight's book is a full analytic survey of crime fiction from its origins in the 19th century to the most contemporary developments. Knight explains how and why the various forms of the genre evolved, explores major authors and movements, and argues that the genre as a whole has three parts: the early development of detection, the growing emphasis on death, and the modern celebration of diversity. The best criticism is cited and the book provides full references and a helpful chronology, making this a complete study of a popular and still relatively underexamined genre