Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers were the two most prominent detective novelists of the Golden Age of Murder. They were founder members of the Detection Club and, as Martin explains in The Golden Age of Murder, in different ways, they transformed the genre.
Agatha Christie was the first writer of adult novels whom Martin read. To this day he admires her achievements in the genre. Although he is a very different writer from Christie – inevitably; they belong to different generations, different worlds – he has learned a great deal from her mastery of plot. And The Devil in Disguise was a novel influenced by Christie, despite being firmly set in modern Liverpool, a city far removed in character from Miss Marple’s St Mary Mead.
Dorothy L. Sayers’ career as a detective novelist lasted only about a decade and a half, but in addition to enjoying enormous commercial and critical success, she strove to improve standards of writing in the genre, wrote with insight about its history, and published several ground-breaking detective novels. Of these, perhaps the most under-estimated is The Documents in the Case, co-written with Robert Eustace. Alone among her novels, it does not feature her aristocratic detective Lord Peter Wimsey.