The tone was masterful, and one would hardly dare to say, Bland reflected, that it didn't suit. Was this perhaps still the captain of the cricket team regarding Bland as a boy trying, not very successfully, to bowl leg-breaks? Or was this the real and characteristic Sinclair? As these questions passed through Bland’s mind Sinclair smiled again, and said, ‘Think I've changed? Without waiting for a reply he went on, ‘I have, you know. In one way at least. I aspire to be an author. Detective stories. Tell me honestly, now, what do you think of them?'
Bland picked tentatively at half a lobster in its shell, and put a piece of firm white flesh into his mouth. ‘Delicious,’ he said, and then, ‘Not very much like life.’
Sinclair pointed with a fork. His face was bright and enthusiastic. ‘Exactly. The essential thing about the detective story is that it’s not very much like life. It doesn’t set out to be like life - that isn’t its function. The detective story is decidedly a romantic affair - something that brings a world they don‘t know, a world of romantic violence quite alien to their own lives to the sickly young men who spend their days in front of a ledger, the overworked and underpaid shop girls, the colonels in the clubs and the dowagers in their boudoirs. It isn’t reality that these people want from detective stories - it’s fantasy. The future of the detective story is in the field of fantasy!