Anatomy of Murder identifies and explores three basic fictional forms dealing with murder and detection—mystery, detective, and crime fiction. Mystery fiction takes place in a centered world, one whose most distinctive characteristic is motivation. Covering the forms of murder fiction, the book examines texts by Doyle, Christie, Sayers, Hammett, Chandler, Highsmith, Jim Thompson, Thomas Harris, and others.
When Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, Tony Hillerman’s oddly matched tribal police officers, patrol the mesas and canyons of their Navajo reservation, they join a rich traditon of Southwestern detectives. In Crime Fiction and Film in the Southwest, a group of literary critics tracks the mystery and crime novel from the Painted Desert to Death Valley and Salt Lake City. In addition, the book includes the first comprehensive bibliography of mysteries set in the Southwest and a chapter on Southwest film noir from Humphrey Bogart’s tough hood in The Petrified Forest to Russell Crowe’s hard-nosed cop in L.A. Confidential.
Crime Fiction in German is the first volume in English to offer a comprehensive overview of German-language crime fiction, from its origins in the early nineteenth century to its vibrant growth in the new millennium. In addition to introducing readers to crime fiction from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the former East Germany, Katharina Hall expands the notion of a German crime-writing tradition by investigating Nazi crime fiction, Jewish-German crime fiction, Turkish-German crime fiction, and the Afrika-Krimi. Significant trends, including the West German social crime novel, women’s crime writing, regional crime fiction, historical crime fiction, and the Fernsehkrimi television crime drama are also explored, highlighting the genre’s distinctive features in German-language contexts.
American crime fiction has developed into writing that has a commitment to democracy and the democratic way of life, a compassion and empathy and a style which has created a significant branch of American literature.
Detective fiction featuring white women and people of colorsuch as Barbara Neelys Blanche White and Walter Mosleys Easy Rawlinshas become tremendously popular. Although they are considered "light reading," mysteries also hold important cultural and social "clues." Much recent scholarly work has demonstrated that race is both a cultural fictionnot a biological realityand a central organizing principle of experience. Popular writers are likely to reflect the conventions of their own historical situations.
In Traces, Codes, and Clues: Reading Race in Crime Fiction, Maureen T. Reddy explores the ways in which crime fiction manipulates cultural constructions such as race and gender to inscribe dominant cultural discourses. She notes that even those writers who appear to set out to revise outdated conventions repeatedly reproduce the genres most conservative elements. The greatest obstacle to transforming crime fiction, Reddy states, is the fact that the genre itself is deeply embedded in the discourse of white (and male) superiority. There is, therefore, an absolute necessity to break away from that discoursethrough reversal or other strategiesin order to produce work that defies, and thus helps readers to defy, the dominant ideology of race.