Here is a look at Water in a Sieve and Blackkerchief Dick and twenty-two other books by Margery Allingham featuring Albert Campion. Campion, the fictional hero, was a man of action, who appears to be a "guileless-looking nonentity whom it is almost obligatory to underestimate." Any fan of Campion or Ms. Allingham's mysteries will enjoy comparing their judgments to Pike's.
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.
Nadya Aisenberg discusses the potentialities of the crime novel, its implications, principles, and scope, and its analogy ot myth and the fairy tale. She proposes that the detective story and the thriller have made an unacknowledged contribution to "serious" literature. Her discussion of Dickens, Conrad, and Green indicate that each borrowed many important ingredients from the formulaic novel.
A distinguished physician and professor of medicine at Edinburgh University, and a forensic expert for the British Crown, Joseph Bell was well known for his remarkable powers of observation and deduction. In what would become true Sherlockian fashion, he had the ability to deduce facts about his patients from otherwise unremarkable details. In one instance recounted by Arthur Conan Doyle himself—and similar to Sherlock Holmes's own observations in "The Greek Interpreter"—Bell took little time to determine that one of his patients had recently served in the army, a non-commissioned officer discharged from his Highland regiment stationed in Barbados:
“The man was a respectful man, but did not remove his hat. They do not in the army, but he would have learned civilian ways had he been long discharged. He has an air of authority and he is obviously Scottish. As to Barbados, his complaint is elephantitis, which is West Indian and not British.”
Based on extensive research into the life of Bell and including tantalizing accounts of the connections between Bell and Conan Doyle, this biography is required reading for anyone interested in Victorian medicine, in the history of detective fiction, and in Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
Framed uses fin de siècle British crime narrative to pose a highly interesting question: why do female criminal characters tend to be alluring and appealing while fictional male criminals of the era are unsympathetic or even grotesque?
In this elegantly argued study, Elizabeth Carolyn Miller addresses this question, examining popular literary and cinematic culture from roughly 1880 to 1914 to shed light on an otherwise overlooked social and cultural type: the conspicuously glamorous New Woman criminal. In so doing, she breaks with the many Foucauldian studies of crime to emphasize the genuinely subversive aspects of these popular female figures. Drawing on a rich body of archival material, Miller argues that the New Woman Criminal exploited iconic elements of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century commodity culture, including cosmetics and clothing, to fashion an illicit identity that enabled her to subvert legal authority in both the public and the private spheres.
"This is a truly extraordinary argument, one that will forever alter our view of turn-of-the-century literary culture, and Miller has demonstrated it with an enrapturing series of readings of fictional and filmic criminal figures. In the process, she has filled a gap between feminist studies of the New Woman of the 1890s and more gender-neutral studies of early twentieth-century literary and social change. Her book offers an extraordinarily important new way to think about the changing shape of political culture at the turn of the century."
---John Kucich, Professor of English, Rutgers University
"Given the intellectual adventurousness of these chapters, the rich material that the author has brought to bear, and its combination of archival depth and disciplinary range, any reader of this remarkable book will be amply rewarded."
---Jonathan Freedman, Professor of English and American Culture, University of Michigan
Elizabeth Carolyn Miller is Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Davis.
digitalculturebooks is an imprint of the University of Michigan and the Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan Library dedicated to publishing innovative and accessible work exploring new media and their impact on society, culture, and scholarly communication. Visit the website at www.digitalculture.org.
Judge Dee and his entourage, seeking refuge from a mountain storm, become trapped in a Taoist monastery, where the Abbott Jade mysteriously dies after delivering an ecstatic sermon. The monks call it a supernatural experience, but the judge calls it murder. Recalling the allegedly accidental deaths of three young women in the same monastery, Judge Dee seeks clues in the eyes of a cat to solve cases of impersonation and murder. A painting by one of the victims reveals the truth about the killings, propelling the judge on a quest for justice and revenge.
"Entertaining, instructive, and impressive."—Times Literary Supplement
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.
This book explores the inter-relationships between Agatha Christie and her works to seek the wholeness in the Christie experience. The authors perceive an integration in personal experience and moral and aesthetic values between the woman and her art.
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.
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.
Poisoning occurs in over half of Agatha Christie's many novels and stories. In fact, she used a larger number and broader selection of poisons and medicines, for a wider variety of purposes, with greater frequency, ingenuity, and scientific accuracy than any other detective fiction writer. Yet very little has been written on the use of drugs, poisons, and chemicals in Christie's fiction.
The Poisonous Pen of Agatha Christie entertainingly and authoritatively fills this gap. Michael Gerald explores the use of poisons and drugs in Christie's fiction not only to commit murder and suicide but also to incapacitate a victim, alter behavior, treat disease, or support addiction. He also analyzes her views, as expressed in her fiction and autobiography, on drug addiction, the health professions, the value of medicines, and scientific discoveries.
Especially valuable is Gerald's exhaustive listing of all drugs, poisons, and chemicals mentioned in Christie's novels and stories, with references to the work(s) in which each appears and the ways in which each is used. Other tables list all the novels and short stories and the chemicals that are used in each. Throughout, the properties of all drugs are clearly explained so that the reader needs no special scientific or medical knowledge.
The Poisonous Pen of Agatha Christie illuminates the fictional uses Christie made of her real-life experiences as a hospital drug dispenser and as a provider of nursing care. It will be of interest to fans and scholars alike.
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.
Jonathan Latimer (1906-1983) wrote nine detective novels. He also wrote or co-wrote 20 film scripts, including such noir classics as the second version of Dasheill Hammett's The Glass Key, Kenneth Fearing's The Big Clock, and Cornell Woolrich's The Night Has a Thousand Eyes. Moving to television writing, he scripted 45 original stories and adapted 50 Eric Stanley Gardner novels for the Perry Mason series.
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.
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.
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.
Judge Dee has been appointed emergency governor of the plague- and drought-ridden Imperial City. As his guards help the city fend off a popular uprising, an aristocrat from one of the oldest families in China suffers an "accident" in a deserted mansion.
In The Willow Pattern, the illustrious judge uses his trademark expertise to unravel the mysteries of the nobleman, a shattered vase, and a dead bondmaid. Along the way he encounters a woman who fights with loaded sleeves, a nearly drowned courtesan, and an elaborate trap set for a murderer. Packed with suspense, violence, and romance, The Willow Pattern won’t disappoint Judge Dee’s legions of loyal fans.
"The China of old, in Mr. van Gulik’s skilled hands, comes vividly alive again."—Allen J. Hubin, New York Times Book Review
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