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Anatomy of Murder
Mystery, Detective, and Crime Fiction
Carl D. Malmgren
University of Wisconsin Press, 2001
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.
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And Then There Were Nine. . .
More Women of Mystery
Smith
University of Wisconsin Press, 1985
Within the formulas of crime fiction, this collection ranges from writers Daphne du Maurier and Margery Allingham, whose names are synonymous with conventional subgenres of crime fiction, through Patricia Highsmith, and Shirley Jackson, who deliberately set conventions aside or who moved those conventions into other realms. Most important, perhaps, Jackson, Highsmith and E. X. Ferrars depict civilizations that are not essentially orderly, that are not founded upon a commonly understood concept of justice--where one must make her own order.
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The Annotated Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Harvard University Press, 2015

Edgar Allan Poe is perhaps America’s most famous writer. Adapted many times to the stage and screen and an inspiration to countless illustrators, graphic novelists, and musicians, his tales and poems remain a singular presence in popular culture. (His most famous poem inspired the name of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.) And then there is the matter of Poe’s literary influence. “How many things come out of Poe?” Jorge Luis Borges once asked. And yet Poe remains misunderstood, his works easily confused with the legend of a troubled genius. Now, in this annotated edition of selected tales and poems, Kevin J. Hayes debunks the Poe myth, enables a larger appreciation of Poe’s career and varied achievements, and investigates his weird afterlives.

With color illustrations and photographs throughout, The Annotated Poe contains in-depth notes placed conveniently alongside the tales and poems to elucidate Poe’s sources, obscure words and passages, and literary, biographical, and historical allusions. Like Poe’s own marginalia, Hayes’s marginal notes accommodate “multitudinous opinion”: he explains his own views and interpretations as well as those of other writers and critics, including Poe himself. In his Foreword, William Giraldi provides a spirited introduction to the writer who produced such indelible masterpieces as “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” and “The Black Cat.”

The Annotated Poe offers much for both the professional and the general reader—but it will be especially prized by those who think of themselves as Poe aficionados.

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The Blues Detective
A Study of African American Detective Fiction
Stephen Soitos
University of Massachusetts Press, 1996
This illuminating book makes the case for a tradition of African American detective fiction--novels written by black Americans about black detectives and incorporating distinctly African American tropes and themes. Beginning with Pauline Hopkins in 1901, black authors consciously altered and subverted the formulas of detective fiction in significant ways. Such writers as J. E. Bruce, Rudolph Fisher, Chester Himes, Ishmael Reed, and Clarence Major created a new genre that responded to the social and political concerns of the black community.

Examining the work of these authors, Stephen Soitos frames his analysis in terms of four uniquely African American tropes: altered detective personas, double-consciousness detection, black vernaculars, and hoodoo. He argues that black writers created sleuths who were in fact "blues detectives," engaged not only in solving crimes, but also in exploring the mysteries of black life and culture.

Soitos grounds his study in African American literary theory, particularly the work of Houston Baker, Bernard Bell, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He offers both a new way of conceiving black detective fiction and a series of insightful readings of books in this genre.
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Boys From Grover Avenue
Ed Mcbain's 87th Precinct Novels
George N. Dove
University of Wisconsin Press, 1985
Ed McBain is a master of tone. He turns his material just a little off-axis. George Dove’s study of McBain’s imaginary city is both insightful and realistic. He gets at the heart of this major writer of police procedurals by examining the geography, the day-to-day happenings, and literary quality.
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Brown Gumshoes
Detective Fiction and the Search for Chicana/o Identity
By Ralph E. Rodriguez
University of Texas Press, 2005

Winner, Modern Language Association Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies, 2006

Popular fiction, with its capacity for diversion, can mask important cultural observations within a framework that is often overlooked in the academic world. Works thought to be merely "escapist" can often be more seriously mined for revelations regarding the worlds they portray, especially those of the disenfranchised. As detective fiction has slowly earned critical respect, more authors from minority groups have chosen it as their medium. Chicana/o authors, previously reluctant to write in an underestimated genre that might further marginalize them, have only entered the world of detective fiction in the past two decades.

In this book, the first comprehensive study of Chicano/a detective fiction, Ralph E. Rodriguez examines the recent contributions to the genre by writers such as Rudolfo Anaya, Lucha Corpi, Rolando Hinojosa, Michael Nava, and Manuel Ramos. Their works reveal the struggles of Chicanas/os with feminism, homosexuality, familia, masculinity, mysticism, the nationalist subject, and U.S.-Mexico border relations. He maintains that their novels register crucial new discourses of identity, politics, and cultural citizenship that cannot be understood apart from the historical instability following the demise of the nationalist politics of the Chicana/o movement of the 1960s and 1970s. In contrast to that time, when Chicanas/os sought a unified Chicano identity in order to effect social change, the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s have seen a disengagement from these nationalist politics and a new trend toward a heterogeneous sense of self. The detective novel and its traditional focus on questions of knowledge and identity turned out to be the perfect medium in which to examine this new self.

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Comic Crime
Edited by Earl F. Bargainnier
University of Wisconsin Press, 1987

The humor of Sherlock Holmes, Donald Westlake, Agatha Christie, Michael Innes, and Edmund Crispin are just a few of those discussed. A major point highlighted by this book is simply that wit, slapstick. laughter, and an anything-can-happen motif appear in a significant amount of fiction about crime.

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A Comprehensive Index to Black Mask, 1920-1951
E. R. Hagemann
University of Wisconsin Press, 1982
Professor Hagemann, for many years interested in the hard-boiled, tough-guy writers, has completed this comprehensive index to Black Mask magazine. A task that took many years as a labor of love, this study is a thorough and accurate index to a magazine that furnished a publishing place for many of the writers of hard-boiled detective fiction.
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Cops and Constables
American and British Fictional Policemen
Edited by Earl F. Bargainnier and George N. Dove
University of Wisconsin Press, 1986
In both British and American detective fiction the police detective has emerged as a fictional protagonist. However, the American policemen have not achieved the prominence of their British counterparts. The thirteen essays in this volume indicate some of the principle elements which appear again and again in both British and American police procedurals.
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Crime Fiction and Film in the Southwest
Bad Boys and Bad Girls in the Badlands
Edited by Steve Glassman and Maurice O'Sullivan
University of Wisconsin Press, 2001

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.

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Crime Uncovered
Anti-hero
Edited by Fiona Peters and Rebecca Stewart
Intellect Books, 2015
There are few figures as captivating as the antihero: the character we can’t help but root for, even as we turn away in revulsion from many of the things they do. What is it that draws us to characters like Breaking Bad’s Walter White, Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley, and Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander even as we decry the trail of destruction they leave in their wake?

Crime Uncovered: Antihero tackles that question and more. Mixing the popular and iconic, contemporary and ancient, the book explores the place and appeal of the antihero. Using figures from books, TV, film, and more, including such up-to-the-minute examples as True Detective’s Rust Cole, the book places the antihero’s actions within the society he or she is rejecting, showing how expectations and social and familial structures create the backdrop against which the antihero’s posture becomes compelling. Featuring interviews with genre masters James Ellroy and Paul Johnston, Crime Uncovered: Antiherois an accessible, engaging analysis of what drives us to embrace those characters who acknowledge—or even flaunt—the dark side we all have somewhere deep inside.
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Darkly Perfect World
Colonial Adventure, Postmodernism, and American Noir
Stanley Orr
The Ohio State University Press, 2010
Stanley Orr’s Darkly Perfect World offers a large-scale historical narrative about the way American crime fiction and film have changed throughout the twentieth century. Orr argues that films noirs and noir fictions dramatize Raymond Chandler’s pronouncement that “Even in death, a man has a right to his own identity.” Orr illuminates a noir ethos committed to “authenticating alienation”: subjectivity managed through radical polarization of Self and Other. Distinguishing a heretofore unrecognized context for American noir, Orr demonstrates that Chandler and Dashiell Hammett arrive at this subject within and against the colonial adventure genre. While the renegades of Joseph Conrad and Louis Becke project a figure vulnerable to shifts in cultural context, the noir protagonist exemplifies alienated selfhood and often performs a “continental operation” against the slippages of the colonial adventurer. But even as Orson Welles, Billy Wilder, and other noir virtuosi persist with this revision of late Victorian adventure, Chester Himes, Dorothy Hughes, and John Okada experiment with hard-boiled alienation for a subversion of noir that resonates throughout literary postmodernism. In their respective avant-garde novels, Thomas Pynchon, Ishmael Reed, and Paul Auster expose what K.W. Jeter terms the “darkly perfect world” of noir, thus giving rise to and enabling the con men and “connected guys” of contemporary films noirs such as Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects, David Fincher’s Seven, Christopher Nolan’s Memento, and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.
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The Dead Letter and The Figure Eight
Metta Fuller Victor
Duke University Press, 2003
Before Raymond Chandler, before Dorothy Sayers or Agatha Christie, there was Metta Fuller Victor, the first American author—man or woman—of a full-length detective novel. This novel, The Dead Letter, is presented here along with another of Victor’s mysteries, The Figure Eight. Both written in the 1860s and published under the name Seeley Regester, these novels show how—by combining conventions of the mystery form first developed by Edgar Allan Poe with those of the domestic novel—Victor pioneered the domestic detective story and paved the way for generations of writers to follow.

In The Dead Letter, Henry Moreland is killed by a single stab to the back. Against a background of post–Civil War politics, Richard Redfield, a young attorney, helps Burton, a legendary New York City detective, unravel the crime. In The Figure Eight, Joe Meredith undertakes a series of adventures and assumes a number of disguises to solve the mystery of the murder of his uncle and regain the lost fortune of his angelic cousin.

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The Detective as Historian
History and Art in Historical Crime Fiction
Edited by Ray B. Browne and Lawrence A. Kreiser, Jr.; Preface by Robin W. Winks
University of Wisconsin Press, 2000
Readers of detective stories are turning more toward historical crime fiction to learn both what everyday life was like in past societies and how society coped with those who broke the laws and restrictions of the times. The crime fiction treated here ranges from ancient Egypt through classical Greece and Rome; from medieval and renaissance China and Europe through nineteenth-century England and America.
       Topics include: Ellis Peter’s Brother Cadfael; Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose; Susanna Gregory’s Doctor Matthew Bartholomew; Peter Heck’s Mark Twain as detective; Anne Perry and her Victorian-era world; Caleb Carr’s works; and Elizabeth Peter’s Egyptologist-adventurer tales.
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Diversity and Detective Fiction
Kathleen Gregory Klein
University of Wisconsin Press, 1999
The first collection to articulate the pedagogical strategies of using detective fiction to investigate the politics of difference. The volume examines the many ways in which diversity is posited by contemporary writers exploring distinctive American subcultures. The distinguishing characteristic of the book is its mix of essays focusing on teaching cultural diversity in the classroom and illustrating diversity through fiction to the general reader.
    Among the issues addressed are definitions of diversity; what constitutes ethnicity or race, especially in terms of multiple subjectivities; how race, gender, and ethnicity are culturally constructed; and what part is played by identity politics.
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Dreams for Dead Bodies
Blackness, Labor, and the Corpus of American Detective Fiction
M. Michelle Robinson
University of Michigan Press, 2016
Dreams for Dead Bodies: Blackness, Labor, and  the Corpus of American Detective Fiction offers new arguments about the origins of detective fiction in the United States, tracing the lineage of the genre back to unexpected texts and uncovering how authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Pauline Hopkins, and Rudolph Fisher made use of the genre’s puzzle-elements to explore the shifting dynamics of race and labor in America.
 
The author constructs an interracial genealogy of detective fiction to create a nuanced picture of the ways that black and white authors appropriated and cultivated literary conventions that coalesced in a recognizable genre at the turn of the twentieth century. These authors tinkered with detective fiction’s puzzle-elements to address a variety of historical contexts, including the exigencies of chattel slavery, the erosion of working-class solidarities by racial and ethnic competition, and accelerated mass production. Dreams for Dead Bodies demonstrates that nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American literature was broadly engaged with detective fiction, and that authors rehearsed and refined its formal elements in literary works typically relegated to the margins of the genre. By looking at these margins, the book argues, we can better understand the origins and cultural functions of American detective fiction.
 
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Fiction, Crime, and Empire
CLUES TO MODERNITY AND POSTMODERNISM
Jon Thompson
University of Illinois Press, 1993

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Good Knights
Ralph McInerny
St. Augustine's Press, 2010

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Gumshoe America
Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Rise and Fall of New Deal Liberalism
Sean McCann
Duke University Press, 2000
In Gumshoe America Sean McCann offers a bold new account of the hard-boiled crime story and its literary and political significance. Illuminating a previously unnoticed set of concerns at the heart of the fiction, he contends that mid-twentieth-century American crime writers used the genre to confront and wrestle with many of the paradoxes and disappointments of New Deal liberalism. For these authors, the same contradictions inherent in liberal democracy were present within the changing literary marketplace of the mid-twentieth-century United States: the competing claims of the elite versus the popular, the demands of market capitalism versus conceptions of quality, and the individual versus a homogenized society.
Gumshoe America traces the way those problems surfaced in hard-boiled crime
fiction from the1920s through the 1960s. Beginning by using a forum on the KKK in the pulp magazine Black Mask to describe both the economic and political culture of pulp fiction in the early twenties, McCann locates the origins of the hard-boiled crime story in the genre’s conflict with the racist antiliberalism prominent at the time. Turning his focus to Dashiell Hammett’s career, McCann shows how Hammett’s writings in the late 1920s and early 1930s moved detective fiction away from its founding fables of social compact to the cultural alienation triggered by a burgeoning administrative state. He then examines how Raymond Chandler’s fiction, unlike Hammett’s, idealized sentimental fraternity, echoing the communitarian appeals of the late New Deal. Two of the first crime writers to publish original fiction in paperback—Jim Thompson and Charles Willeford—are examined next in juxtaposition to the popularity enjoyed by their contemporaries Mickey Spillane and Ross Macdonald. The stories of the former two, claims McCann, portray the decline of the New Deal and the emergence of the rights-based liberalism of the postwar years and reveal new attitudes toward government: individual alienation, frustration with bureaucratic institutions, and dissatisfaction with the growing vision of America as a meritocracy. Before concluding, McCann turns to the work of Chester Himes, who, in producing revolutionary hard-boiled novels, used the genre to explore the changing political significance of race that accompanied the rise of the Civil Rights movement in the late 1950s and the 1960s.
Combining a striking reinterpretation of the hard-boiled crime story with a fresh view of the political complications and cultural legacies of the New Deal, Gumshoe America will interest students and fans of the genre, and scholars of American history, culture, and government.
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Hard-Boiled
Erin A. Smith
Temple University Press, 2000
In the 1920s a distinctively American detective fiction emerged from the pages of pulp magazines. The “hard-boiled” stories published in Black Mask, Dime Detective, Detective Fiction Weekly, and Clues featured a new kind of hero and soon challenged the popularity of the British mysteries that held readers in thrall on both sides of the Atlantic. In Hard-Boiled Erin A. Smith examines the culture that produced and supported this form of detective story through the 1940s.

Relying on pulp magazine advertising, the memoirs of writers and publishers, Depression-era studies of adult reading habits, social and labor history, Smith offers an innovative account of how these popular stories were generated and read. She shows that although the work of pulp fiction authors like Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Erle Stanley Gardner have become “classics” of popular culture, the hard-boiled genre was dominated by hack writers paid by the word, not self-styled artists. Pulp magazine editors and writers emphasized a gritty realism in the new genre. Unlike the highly rational and respectable British protagonists (Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, for instance), tough-talking American private eyes relied as much on their fists as their brains as they made their way through tangled plotlines.

Casting working-class readers of pulp fiction as “poachers,” Smith argues that they understood these stories as parables about Taylorism, work, and manhood; as guides to navigating consumer culture; as sites for managing anxieties about working women. Engaged in re-creating white, male privilege for the modern, heterosocial world, pulp detective fiction shaped readers into consumers by selling them what they wanted to hear – stories about manly artisan-heroes who resisted encroaching commodity culture and the female consumers who came with it. Commenting on the genre’s staying power, Smith considers contemporary detective fiction by women, minority, and gay and lesbian writers.
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Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Decline of Moral Authority
Susanna Lee
The Ohio State University Press, 2016
The cynical but kind-hearted detective is the soul of the classic hard-boiled story, that chronicle of world-weary urban pessimism. In Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Decline of Moral Authority, Susanna Lee argues that this fiction functions as a measure for individual responsibility in the modern world and that it demonstrates the enduring status of individual conscience across a variety of cultural crises. In this major rethinking of the hard-boiled genre, Lee suggests that, whether in Los Angeles, New York, or Paris, the hard-boiled detective is the guardian of individual moral authority and the embodiment of ideals in a corrupt environment.
Lee traces the history of the hard-boiled detective through the twentieth century and on both sides of the Atlantic (France and the United States), tying the idea of morality to the character model in nuanced, multifaceted ways. When the heroic model devolves, the very conceptual validity of individual moral authority can seem to devolve as well. Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Decline of Moral Authority charts the evolution of that character model of the hard-boiled hero, the mid-century deterioration of his exemplarity, and twenty-first-century endeavors to resuscitate the accountable hero. The history of hard-boiled crime fiction tells nothing less than the story of individual autonomy and accountability in modern Western culture.
 
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Hard-Boiled Masculinities
Christopher Breu
University of Minnesota Press, 2005
The persona of the American male in the period between the two world wars was characterized by physical strength, emotional detachment, aggressive behavior, and an amoral worldview. This ideal of a hard-boiled masculinity can be seen in the pages and, even more vividly, on the covers of magazines such as Black Mask, which shifted from Victorian-influenced depictions of men in top hats and mustaches in the early 1920s to the portrayal of much more overtly violent and muscular men. 

Looking closely at this transformation, Christopher Breu offers a complex account of how and why hard-boiled masculinity emerged during an unsettled time of increased urbanization and tenuous peace and traces the changes in its cultural conception as it moved back and forth across the divide between high and low culture as well as the color line that bifurcated American society. 

Examining the work of Ernest Hemingway, Dashiell Hammett, Chester Himes, and William Faulkner, as well as many lesser-known writers for the hypermasculine pulp magazines of the 1920s and 1930s, Breu illustrates how the tough male was a product of cultural fantasy, one that shored up gender and racial stereotypes as a way of lashing out at the destabilizing effects of capitalism and social transformation. 

Christopher Breu is assistant professor of English at Illinois State University.
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Heroes and Humanities
Detective Fiction and Culture
Ray B. Browne
University of Wisconsin Press, 1986
Mystery fiction, although essentially the same in all its national varieties, nevertheless comes in several types and several wrappings.
    The present study of American, Australian, and Canadian detective fiction concerns literature which speaks in the ways of heroes and humanities about the human condition. All authors studied here, to one degree or another, demonstrate their concern with human society, some more strongly than others, but all with their eyes on the human situation and human existence. At times these studies lean toward the tragic in their outlook and development. In all instances they center on the humanistic.
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Hollywood Troubleshooter
W. T. Ballard's Bill Lennox Stories
James L. Traylor
University of Wisconsin Press, 1985

This is the first collection of short stories by W.T. Ballard. This volume is just a sampling of Ballard's most famous character Bill Lennox, a selection for both the connoisseur of crime and the lover of good, fast-moving crime/adventure stories.

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In Search of the Paper Tiger
A Sociological Perspective of Myth, Formula, and the Mystery Genre in the Entertainment Print Mass Medium
Gary Hoppenstand
University of Wisconsin Press, 1987
The author examines the process of social life and the relationship of myth, popular formula, and the mystery genre to social psychology. The book presents social construction of reality theory as a methodology upon which the structure of mass-mediated popular fiction can be examined, postulating definitions of myth and formula and advancing a new language of literary analysis that acknowledges the socially defining, democratizing experience of popular fiction. Social-psychological analysis is focused on the mystery genre and examines its taxonomy, including the supernatural, fiction noir, gangster, thief, thriller, and detective formulas.
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In the Beginning
First Novels in Mystery Series
Mary Jean Demarr
University of Wisconsin Press, 1995

This volume contains fourteen essays by authoritative academics studying the field of mystery and detective fiction. The essays all concentrate on the first novels in established series, analyzing ways in which the opening books of the series do or do not create patterns followed in succeeding novels.

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Inspecting Jews
American Jewish Detective Stories
Roth, Laurence
Rutgers University Press, 2003

Inthis book, Laurence Roth argues that the popular genre of Jewish detective stories offers new insights into the construction of ethnic and religious identity. Roth frames his study with the concept of “kosher hybridity” to look at the complex process of mediation between Jewish and American culture in which Jewish writers voice the desire to be both different from and yet the same as other Americans. He argues that the detective story, located at the intersection of narrative and popular culture in modern America, examines the need for order in a disorderly society, and thus offers a window into the negotiation of Jewish identity differing from that of literary fiction. The writers of these popular cultural texts, which are informed by contradiction and which thrive on intended and unintended ironies, formulate idioms for American Jewish identities that intentionally and unintentionally create social, ethnic, and religious syntheses in American Jewish life. Roth examines stories about American Jewish detectives—including Harry Kemelman’s Rabbi Small, Faye Kellerman’s Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus, Stuart Kaminsky’s Abe Lieberman, and Rochelle Krich’s Jessica Drake—not only as a genre of literature but also as a reflection of contemporary acculturation in the American Jewish popular arts.

 

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John Dickson Carr
A Critical Study
S. T. Joshi
University of Wisconsin Press, 1990
John Dickson Carr is known as the master of the “locked-room” mystery—the “impossible crime.” But Carr also wrote short stories, radio plays, essays, introductions, and book reviews. S. T. Joshi has written the first full-length study of Carr’s entire work and pays particular attention to this author’s three best-known detectives: Henri Bencolin, Dr. Gideon Fell, and Sir Henry Merrivale.
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Maximum Movies—Pulp Fictions
Film Culture and the Worlds of Samuel Fuller, Mickey Spillane, and Jim Thompson
Stanfield, Peter
Rutgers University Press, 2011
In the words of Richard Maltby . . . "Maximum Movies--Pulp Fictions describes two improbably imbricated worlds and the piece of cultural history their intersections provoked." One of these worlds comprises a clutch of noisy, garish pulp movies--Kiss Me Deadly, Shock Corridor, Fixed Bayonets!, I Walked with a Zombie, The Lineup, Terror in a Texas Town, Ride Lonesome--pumped out for the grind houses at the end of the urban exhibition chain by the studios' B-divisions and fly-by-night independents. The other is occupied by critics, intellectuals, cinephiles, and filmmakers such as Jean-Luc Godard, Manny Farber, and Lawrence Alloway, who championed the cause of these movies and incited the cultural guardians of the day by attacking a rigorously policed canon of tasteful, rarified, and ossified art objects. Against the legitimate, and in defense of the illegitimate, in an insolent and unruly manner, they agitated for the recognition of lurid sensational crime stories, war pictures, fast-paced Westerns, thrillers, and gangster melodramas were claimed as examples of the true, the real, and the authentic in contemporary culture--the foundation upon which modern film studies sits.
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More Tales of the Defective Detective in the Pulps
Gary Hoppenstand, Garyn G. Roberts, and Ray B. Browne
University of Wisconsin Press, 1985
This second collection of defective detective stories features some of the best of the period, including Russell Gray’s gimpy hero Ben Bryn, Edith and Ejler Jacobson’s hemophiliac gum-shoe Nat Perry, John Kobler’s glaucomatous troubleshooter Peter Quest, and Leon Byrne’s deaf detective Dan Holden.
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Mother of Detective Fiction
The Life and Works of Anna Katharine Green
Patricia D. Maida
University of Wisconsin Press, 1989
When The Leavenworth Case, Anna Katharine Green’s first novel, was published in 1878, it quickly became a bestseller as well as a seminal work of detective fiction. Critics were to perceive Green’s work as the link to Edgar Allan Poe in the American line of classic detective fiction. But the development of serial detectives is perhaps her greatest achievement. (Ebenezer Gryce of the New York Metropolitan Police, who makes his first appearance in 1878, precedes Sherlock Holmes by almost a decade.)
    In examining the life and works of Anna Katharine Green, one discovers a slice of American life: in the social events of New York City, in the plight of young working women, in the moral dilemmas of upright citizens pursuing the American dream.
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Murder on the Reservation
American Indian Crime Fiction
Ray B. Browne
University of Wisconsin Press, 2004
In Murder on the Reservation, Ray B. Browne surveys the work of several of the best-known writers of crime fiction involving Indian characters and references virtually every book that qualifies as an Indian-related mystery. Browne believes that within the genre of crime fiction all people are equal, and the increasing role of Indian characters in criminal fiction proves what an important role this genre plays as a powerful democratizing force in American society. He endeavors to both analyze and evaluate the individual work of the authors, and at the same time, provide a commentary on the various attitudes towards race relations in the United States that each author presents. Some Indian fiction is intended to right the wrongs the authors feel have been leveled against Indians. Other authors use Indian lore and Indian locales as exotic elements and locations for the entertaining and commercially successful stories they want to write. Browne’s analysis includes authors and works of all backgrounds, with mysteries of first-class murder both on and off the reservation.
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Mystery Fanfare
A Composite Annotated Index to Mystery and Related Fanzines 1963–1981
Michael L. Cook
University of Wisconsin Press, 1983

This work is a composite index of the complete runs of all mystery and detective fan magazines that have been published, through 1981. Added to it are indexes of many magazines of related nature. This includes magazines that are primarily oriented to boys' book collecting, the paperbacks, and the pulp magazine hero characters, since these all have a place in the mystery and detective genre.

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New Hard-Boiled Writers
1970s–1990s
LeRoy Lad Panek
University of Wisconsin Press, 2000
Beginning in the 1970s, a new generation of writers took over the hard-boiled story (created by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett) and transformed it to fit the realities of their world—a universe infected by violence, greed, racism, sexism, war, and commercialism. Their protagonists, too, are far different from Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe.
    The author comments both on the way the hard-boiled story has changed over the past three decades and examines the work of ten significant contemporary hard-boiled writers. Chapters on Robert B. Parker, James Crumley, Loren Estleman, Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton, Carl Hiaasen, Earl Emerson, Robert Crais, James Lee Burke, and Walter Mosley demonstrate how these writers have used the hard-boiled hero to make powerful statements about life in the last quarter of the twentieth century.
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Nice and Noir
Contemporary American Crime Fiction
Richard B. Schwartz
University of Missouri Press, 2002
Owners of mystery bookshops will tell you that there are several sorts of buyers: those who purchase on impulse or whim; genre addicts who buy paperbacks by the week and by the armful; and those who have caught up on canonical texts and regularly buy new novels by select authors in hardcover. Richard B. Schwartz belongs in the last group, with his own list of approximately seventy favorite writers.
Nice and Noir: Contemporary American Crime Fiction explores the work of these writers, building upon a reading of almost seven hundred novels from the 1980s and 1990s. By looking at recurring themes in these mysteries, Schwartz offers readers new ways to approach the works in relation to contemporary cultural concerns.
            With sensitivity to a culture consisting of frontiers and borders, Schwartz examines the position of the vigilante in art and society, racial bridges and divides, the absence of divine presence and compensating narrative strategies, the unresolved nature of the crime plot and its roots in chivalric romance. The special importance of setting and the growing importance of grotesque humor in the fiction studied here are addressed by the author, as is the journalistic/instructional dimension of the field and the importance of crossover narratives.
            This book is not only a study and appreciation of an important subgenre and its contemporary practitioners; it also utilizes both literary history and theoretical material. Information has been drawn from fanzines, from discussions with writers, booksellers, agents, and editors, and from the author’s own extensive knowledge of literature and American culture.
            Nice and Noir is wide-ranging but neither ponderous nor lugubrious. Its language is accessible but not simplistic. The book will have a broad appeal—both to academics and to general readers with some interest in American studies and popular culture.
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Old Sleuth's Freaky Female Detectives
From the Dime Novels
Smith
University of Wisconsin Press, 1990

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The Perfect Murder
A Study in Detection
David Lehman
University of Michigan Press, 2000
In this lively, enjoyable look at the best American and British detective fiction, David Lehman investigates the mystery of mysteries: the profound satisfactions we get from evil, disorder, mayhem, and deception--that we know will be put right by the last page.
As Lehman shows, the detective story draws deeply from ancient storytelling traditions. The mystery's conventions--the locked room, the clue "hidden" in plain sight, the diabolical double, the villainous least likely subject--work on us as childhood fairy tales do; they prey upon our darkest fears, taking us to the brink of the unbearable before restoring a comforting sense of order. The myth of Oedipus, for example, contains the essential elements of a whodunit, with the twist that the murderer the detective pursues is himself.
With their wisecracking gumshoe heroes, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler fashioned an existential romance out of the detective novel. More recent writers such as Ross MacDonald, P. D. James, and Ruth Rendell have raised the genre to a new level of psychological sophistication. Yet the form evolves still, and Lehman guides us to the epistemological riddles of Jorge Luis Borges and Umberto Eco, who challenge the notion of a knowable truth. Originally published in 1989, this new edition features an additional chapter on the mystery novels of the 1990s.
"A lively study of the development and varieties of the detective story since Poe, its relations with other forms high and low, and the latter-day appropriation of its techniques by such writers as Borges and Eco. . . . A thoroughly intelligent and readable book." --Richard Wilbur, Pulitzer-Prize winning poet
David Lehman is the series editor of both the The Best American Poetry, published by Scribner, and the Poets on Poetry series published by the University of Michigan Press. He is a former Guggenheim Fellow in poetry, a vice president of the National Book Critics Circle, and the author of several books of criticism and collections of poems.
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Pimping Fictions
African American Crime Literature and the Untold Story of Black Pulp Publishing
Justin Gifford
Temple University Press, 2013
"Lush sex and stark violence colored Black and served up raw by a great Negro writer," promised the cover of Run Man Run, Chester Himes' pioneering novel in the black crime fiction tradition. In Pimping Fictions, Justin Gifford provides a hard-boiled investigation of hundreds of pulpy paperbacks written by Himes, Donald Goines, and Iceberg Slim (aka Robert Beck), among many others.

Gifford draws from an impressive array of archival materials to provide a first-of-its-kind literary and cultural history of this distinctive genre. He evaluates the artistic and symbolic representations of pimps, sex-workers, drug dealers, and political revolutionaries in African American crime literature-characters looking to escape the racial containment of prisons and the ghetto.

Gifford also explores the struggles of these black writers in the literary marketplace, from the era of white-owned publishing houses like Holloway House-that fed books and magazines like Players to eager black readers-to the contemporary crop of African American women writers reclaiming the genre as their own.

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Places for Dead Bodies
By Gary J. Hausladen
University of Texas Press, 2000

From Tony Hillerman's Navajo Southwest to Martin Cruz Smith's Moscow, an exotic, vividly described locale is one of the great pleasures of many murder mysteries. Indeed, the sense of place, no less than the compelling character of the detective, is often what keeps authors writing and readers reading a particular series of mystery novels.

This book investigates how "police procedural" murder mysteries have been used to convey a sense of place. Gary Hausladen delves into the work of more than thirty authors, including Tony Hillerman, Martin Cruz Smith, James Lee Burke, David Lindsey, P. D. James, and many others. Arranging the authors by their region of choice, he discusses police procedurals set in America, the United Kingdom and Ireland, Europe, Moscow, Asia, and selected locales in other parts of the world, as well as in historical places ranging from the Roman Empire to turn-of-the-century Cairo.

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The Police Procedural
George N. Dove
University of Wisconsin Press, 1982
In the late 1940s and early 1950s a new kind of detective story appeared on the scene. This was a story in which the mystery is solved by regular police detectives, usually working in teams and using ordinary police routines. This kind of narrative is customarily called the "police procedural" story. And it is the subject of this book. Though there has been numberless writers of these stories, there has never been a book of criticism before.
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Private Eyes
One Hundred and One Knights: A Survey of American Detective Fiction 1922–1984
Robert A. Baker and Michael T. Nietzel
University of Wisconsin Press, 1985

Private Eyes is the complete map to what Raymond Bhandler called "the mean streets," the exciting world of the fictional private eye. It is intended to entertain current PI fans and to make new ones.

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Probable Cause
Crime Fiction in America
LeRoy Lad Panek
University of Wisconsin Press, 1990

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.

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Rediscovering Nancy Drew
Carolyn Stewart Dyer
University of Iowa Press, 1995
"Rediscovering Nancy Drew is a rich collection of literary memories and insightful cultural comments."--Journal of Children's Literature "Nancy, especially the Nancy of the original story, is our bright heroine, chasing down the shadows, conquering our worst fears, giving us a glimpse of our brave and better selves, proving to everybody exactly how admirable and wonderful a thing it is to be a girl. Thank you, Nancy Drew."--Nancy Pickard "Nancy Drew belongs to a moment in feminist history; it is a moment, I suggest, that we celebrate, allowing ourselves the satisfaction of praising her for what she dared and forgiving her for what she failed to undertake or understand."--Carolyn G. Heilbrun "Rediscovering Nancy Drew lights up the territory. It informs, delights, and acknowledges through love and scholarship a debt long overdue."--Dale H. Ross In 1991, women staff and faculty at the University of Iowa discovered that the pseudonymous author of the original Nancy Drew books, Carolyn Keene, was none other than Mildred Wirt Benson, the first person to earn a master's degree in journalism at Iowa. The excitement caused by their discovery led to the 1993 Nancy Drew Conference, which explored the remarkable passion for Nancy Drew that spans a wide spectrum of American society. The result: a lively collaboration of essays by and interviews with mystery writers, collectors, publishers, librarians, scholars, journalists, and fans which presents a spirited, informative, totally enjoyable tribute to the driver of that blue roadster so many readers have coveted.
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The Secret of the Hardy Boys
Leslie McFarlane and the Stratemeyer Syndicate
Marilyn S. Greenwald
Ohio University Press, 2004

The author of the Hardy Boys Mysteries was, as millions of readers know, Franklin W. Dixon. Except there never was a Franklin W. Dixon. He was the creation of Edward Stratemeyer, the savvy founder of a children’s book empire that also published the Tom Swift, Bobbsey Twins, and Nancy Drew series.

The Secret of the Hardy Boys: Leslie McFarlane and the Stratemeyer Syndicate recounts how a newspaper reporter with dreams of becoming a serious novelist first brought to life Joe and Frank Hardy, who became two of the most famous characters in children’s literature.

Embarrassed by his secret identity as the author of the Hardy Boys books, Leslie McFarlane admitted it to no one-his son pried the truth out of him years later. Having signed away all rights to the books, McFarlane never shared in the wild financial success of the series. Far from being bitter, however, late in life McFarlane took satisfaction in having helped introduce millions of children to the joys of reading.

Commenting on the longevity of the Hardy Boys series, the New York Times noted, “Mr. McFarlane breathed originality into the Stratemeyer plots, loading on playful detail.”

Author Marilyn Greenwald gives us the story of McFarlane’s life and career, including for the first time a compelling account of his writing life after the Hardy Boys. A talented and versatile writer, McFarlane adapted to sweeping changes in North American markets for writers, as pulp and glossy magazines made way for films, radio, and television. It is a fascinating and inspiring story of the force of talent and personality transcending narrow limits.

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The Short Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe
AN ANNOTATED EDITION
Edited by Stuart Levine and Susan Levine
University of Illinois Press, 1990
The Short Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe brings together, in one convenient edition, all of the information a reader needs to understand Poe's stories. Readable, attractive, and accessible to a general reader or student, it also provides a useful resource for the scholar and specialist. Stuart Levine and Susan Levine tracked down information that is often highly specialized and hard to come by through an extensive program of literary sleuthing—an investigation that took him through the hundreds of places where scholars make their contributions to knowledge.
 
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Something More than Night
The Case of Raymond Chandler
Peter Wolfe
University of Wisconsin Press, 1985
Raymond Chandler’s eminence as a mystery writer is unchallenged. Somerset Maugham and George Grella both rate him above Dashiell Hammett; Eric Partridge deems him “a serious artist and a very considerable novelist,” while praising him as “one of the finest novelists of his time.” Peter Wolfe examines the many sides of Chandler and his work—his apparent will to self-destruct, his obsession with beautiful women, and his apparent brush with homosexuality—and casts much new and needed light on this major American author.
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Spies and Holy Wars
The Middle East in 20th-Century Crime Fiction
By Reeva Spector Simon
University of Texas Press, 2010

Illuminating a powerful intersection between popular culture and global politics, Spies and Holy Wars draws on a sampling of more than eight hundred British and American thrillers that are propelled by the theme of jihad—an Islamic holy war or crusade against the West. Published over the past century, the books in this expansive study encompass spy novels and crime fiction, illustrating new connections between these genres and Western imperialism.

Demonstrating the social implications of the popularity of such books, Reeva Spector Simon covers how the Middle Eastern villain evolved from being the malleable victim before World War II to the international, techno-savvy figure in today's crime novels. She explores the impact of James Bond, pulp fiction, and comic books and also analyzes the ways in which world events shaped the genre, particularly in recent years. Worldwide terrorism and economic domination prevail as the most common sources of narrative tension in these works, while military "tech novels" restored the prestige of the American hero in the wake of post-Vietnam skepticism. Moving beyond stereotypes, Simon examines the relationships between publishing trends, political trends, and popular culture at large—giving voice to the previously unexamined truths that emerge from these provocative page-turners.

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Suspense in the Formula Story
George N. Dove
University of Wisconsin Press, 1989
Dove states that the purpose of this book is "to develop a theoretical base for a critical approach to the interpretation of the formula story." Such an approach should take into account the relationship between author and reader that determines such tacit agreements as the two axioms of formula fiction, the reader-knowledge convention, and the signals that pass between author and reader. Specifically, the chief concern of this book will be the criticism/interpretation of the mystery.
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Ten Women of Mystery
Edited by Earl F. Bargainnier
University of Wisconsin Press, 1981

This volume, which examines the special contributions of a number of women mystery writers, sheds light on this significant example of common interests in recreational reading among women and men and the reasons behind the early and continuing uncharacteristic near-equality of both sexes in this field of endeavor.

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That Affair Next Door and Lost Man's Lane
Anna Katharine Green
Duke University Press, 2003
Anna Katharine Green was the most famous and prolific writer of detective fiction in the United States prior to Dashiell Hammett. Her first novel, The Leavenworth Case, was the bestseller of 1878. Green is credited with a number of “firsts” within the mystery genre, including the gentleman murdered as he makes out his will and the icicle as murder weapon. She created the first female detectives in American fiction. Her amateur spinster sleuth, Amelia Butterworth, became the prototype for numerous women detectives to follow, including Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. Nosy, opinionated, and tenacious, Amelia Butterworth engages in a sustained rivalry with Ebenezer Gryce, a police detective. In the interaction between these characters, Green developed two more conventions adopted by future generations of mystery writers: the investigation as battle between the sexes and between the professional and the unexpectedly sharp, observant amateur. This volume presents two of Green’s Amelia Butterworth tales: That Affair Next Door (1897) and Lost Man’s Lane (1898).
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Tony Hillerman's Navajoland
Hideouts, Haunts, and Havens in the Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee Mysteries
Laurance D. Linford
University of Utah Press, 2011

Tony Hillerman is beloved for his novels of intrigue in the American Southwest. In Tony Hillerman’s Navajoland, Laurance Linford takes readers on a journey through the Four Corners region to the haunts of Hillerman’s characters. Offered in encyclopedic form, each entry gives the common name of a particular location, the Navajo name and history, and a description of the location’s significance in various Hillerman novels. An understanding of the Navajo names and their relations to the landscape will lend a new dimension to the characters and events Tony Hillerman created.

This expanded third edition is updated to include all 72 sites from Hillerman’s final and location-rich novel, The Shape Shifter.
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Tony Hillerman's Navajoland
Hideouts, Haunts, and Havens in the Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee Mysteries
Laurance D. Linford
University of Utah Press, 2005

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Traces, Codes, and Clues
Reading Race in Crime Fiction
Reddy, Maureen T
Rutgers University Press, 2002

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.

      

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Two Guns From Harlem
The Detective Fiction of Chester Himes
Robert E. Skinner
University of Wisconsin Press, 1989
Among the many writers who lent their talents to the creation of hard-boiled detective fiction, few have approached it from a more original perspective than Chester Himes. A former criminal himself, Himes brought to the writing of detective fiction the perspective of the black man. Himes made his debut with the brilliant For Love of Imabelle, for which he was awarded the coveted Grand Prix de la Littérature Policière.
    Two Guns from Harlem probes Himes’s early life and career for the roots of this series and for its heroes, Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones. Skinner discusses how Himes’s experience as a black man, combined with his unique outlook on sociology, politics, violence, sex, and race relations, resulted not only in an unusual portrait of black America but also opened the way for the creation of the
ethnic and female hard-boiled detectives who followed.
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Uncle Abner
Master of Mysteries
Melville Davisson Post
West Virginia University Press, 2015

First published in 1918, Uncle Abner: Master of Mysteries is an anthology of detective stories written by Melville Davisson Post. The popular stories within this collection were serialized in national magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post in the early 20th century.

Uncle Abner is an amateur detective in present-day Harrison County, West Virginia. Throughout his journeys around this antebellum wilderness, long before the nation had a proper police system, the honest Uncle Abner is confronted by murders and mysteries that cannot be ignored. With uncanny intuition, impressive logic, and keen observation of human actions, Uncle Abner is Melville Davisson Post’s most celebrated literary creation and is considered to be one of the most important texts in American detective and crime fiction.

This new edition contains an introduction by Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire novels. 

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The Web of Iniquity
Early Detective Fiction by American Women
Catherine Ross Nickerson
Duke University Press, 1998
The Web of Iniquity is a study of detective fiction written by American women between the Civil War and World War II. Refuting the idea that no American detective fiction of substance was produced between the times of Edgar Allan Poe and Dashiell Hammett, Catherine Ross Nickerson shows how these women writers blended Gothic elements into domestic fiction to create a unique and all-but-ignored subgenre that she labels “domestic detective fiction.”
This subgenre allowed women writers to participate in postbellum culture and to critique other aspects of a rapidly changing society. Domestic detective fiction combined elements of sensationalist papers, popular nonfiction crime stories, and the domestic novel. Nickerson shows how it also incorporated the gothic tropes found in the work of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Louisa May Alcott, and Charlotte Brontë and influenced the work of Pauline Hopkins. Mid-nineteenth-century writer Metta Fuller Victor, who represented such important areas of cultural conflict as the role of professions in the formation of class identity and the possibility of women's independence and self-determination, paved the way for the appearance of women detectives in the late-nineteenth-century fiction of Anna Katharine Green. Nickerson credits Mary Roberts Rinehart, in particular, for bringing sophistication to the subgenre by amplifying the humorous, terrifying, and feminist elements inherent in earlier detective novels by women. Throughout the volume, Nickerson focuses on the narrative qualities of the domestic novel tradition and the ways in which it reflected ideologies of domesticity and gender. Also included are a discussion of various rewritings of the Lizzie Borden scandal in this tradition and an afterword on the relation of domestic detective fiction to the hard-boiled style.
The Web of Iniquity places the detective fiction written by women between 1850 and 1940 into ongoing discussions regarding women, culture, and literature and will appeal to scholars and students of women's studies, American studies, and literary history.
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Whatever Happened to Sherlock Holmes?
Detective Fiction, Popular Theology, and Society
Robert S. Paul
Southern Illinois University Press, 1991

Robert S. Paul suggests that the reason detective fiction has won legions of readers may be that "the writer of detective fiction, without conscious intent, appeals directly to those moral and spiritual roots of society unconsciously affirmed and endorsed by the readers."

Because detective stories deal with crime and punishment they cannot help dealing implicitly with theological issues, such as the reality of good and evil, the recognition that humankind has the potential for both, the nature of evidence (truth and error), the significance of our existence in a rational order and hence the reality of truth, and the value of the individual in a civilized society.

Paul argues that the genre traces its true beginning to the Enlightenment and documents two related but different reactions to the theological issues involved: first, a line of writers who are generally positive in relation to their cultural setting, such as Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, Conan Doyle; and second, a reactionary strain, critical of the prevailing culture, that begins in William Godwin’s Caleb Williams and continues through the anti-heroic writers like Arsène Lupin to Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and John MacDonald.

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The Woman Detective
GENDER AND GENRE
Viola Klein
University of Illinois Press, 1995
"Real mystery fans will enjoy this survey of nearly 300 female sleuths in 100 years of British and U.S. fiction." -- Feminist Bookstore News
This new edition adds sixty new female private eyes to the roster and includes an afterword that assesses the current state of the genre's new and old novels. A comprehensive bibliography and a character list update the field through mid-1994.

"A highly intelligent analysis." -- Ms.
"Well-researched and well-written. . . . Traces the evolution of sexist boundaries in popular detective fiction from a feminist viewpoint and documents the parallels in social history and the women's rights movement." -- Ronald C. Miller, The Armchair Detective
"Identifies dozens of good novels whose titles are not well known, its promise of good reading extending well beyond its own covers." -- Jane Bakerman, Belles Lettres
 
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Women Times Three
Writers, Detectives, Readers
Kathleen Gregory Klein
University of Wisconsin Press, 1995
This volume explores the range of relationships among women writers, women detectives and women-centered mystery fiction, and women readers. Focusing on writers as diverse as Sara Paretsky, Joan Hess, Sarah Caudwell, P. D. James, Katherine V. Forrest, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Sue Grafton, D. R. Meredith, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Barbara Wilson, the authors analyze the development of detective fiction with a different agenda: the woman-authored woman detective.
       The eleven essays concentrate new attention on the trio of reader, writer, and text when all three are modified by the terms “woman” and “mystery.”
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