If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from my time blogging is that a lot of my readers are much more informed about the genre than I am.
Anyway, I’ve had a request from a reader, Kurt Keefner, which I’ll reprint in it’s entirety:
“I was hoping you could help me with a bit of research. I am writing a book about Donna Tartt’s novel The Secret History. In it I analyze the themes of the story but also write about an archetype to which Tartt’s novel belongs: stories where a charismatic teacher imparts dangerous ideas to a cult-like student(s) with fatality ensuing. I have quite a few examples, including Rope (the play and the movie) and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (novel and film). I also have some more recent examples.
It occurs to me, however, that there must be some examples of this archetype in classic mystery fiction, and I’m hoping you might know of some. I would be very grateful for any suggestions and would of course credit you in the acknowledgements”
To be honest, I’m pretty clueless, but it rings a number of bells, none of which I can put my finger on. So, dear readers, can you help Kurt out?