I often read mysteries set in historical times. Dorothy Sayers for example set her Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane stories during the time between the World Wars and into the Second. But my recent reading has started me thinking about the differences in investigations before and now.
The economic crisis caused me to re-read some of the Annette Meyer “Smith and Wetzon” books. They are set in the late 1980s and early 1990s. No cell phones, just answering machines. Early forensics help identify the bones of a dancer found in a trunk. No 24 hour news cycles – just the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal delivered daily. The books (Blood on the Street, These Bones Were Made for Dancing, and Murder: The Musical) seem more dated than Dorothy Sayers or what I am reading now, Anne Perry’s Buckingham Place Gardens which is set in Victorian England.
Why are stories set 20 years ago so old-school while Anne Perry and Dorothy Sayers are not? Is is because therre is so much that is familar in Annette Meyer’s that the reader expects Law and Order, CSI or Bones?
Something to think about. I will have to re-read some very early Robert Parker to see if I get the same feeling.