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The Crime Fiction Handbook / Edition 1

The Crime Fiction Handbook / Edition 1

by Peter MessentPeter Messent
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The Crime Fiction Handbook presents a comprehensive introduction to the origins, development, and cultural significance of the crime fiction genre, focusing mainly on American British, and Scandinavian texts.
  • Provides an accessible and well-written introduction to the genre of crime fiction
  • Moves with ease between a general overview of the genre and useful theoretical approaches
  • Includes a close analysis of the key texts in the crime fiction tradition
  • Identifies what makes crime fiction of such cultural importance and illuminates the social and political anxieties at its heart.
  • Shows the similarities and differences between British, American, and Scandinavian crime fiction traditions


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780470657041
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 11/28/2012
Series: Wiley Blackwell Literature Handbooks Series
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 903,180
Product dimensions: 6.05(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Peter Messent is Emeritus Professor of Modern American Literature at the University of Nottingham. A specialist on Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, and crime fiction, he has published numerous books and articles on a variety of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American writers. His most recent publication is the prize-winning book Mark Twain and Male Friendship (2009).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introductory Note ix

Part 1 Introduction 1

Part 2 The Politics, Main Forms, and Key Concerns of Crime Fiction 9

The Politics of Crime Fiction 11

The Types of Crime Fiction 27

Classical Detective Fiction 27

Hard-Boiled Detective Fiction 34

The Police Novel 41

Transgressor Narratives 50

Vision, Supervision, and the City 60

Crime and the Body 75

Gender Matters 85

Representations of Race 96

Part 3 Some KeyWorks in Crime Fiction 107

Edgar Allan Poe: “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841) 109

Arthur Conan Doyle: The Sign of Four (1890) 116

Agatha Christie: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) 127

Dashiell Hammett: The Maltese Falcon (1930) 136

Raymond Chandler: The Big Sleep (1939) 143

James M. Cain: Double Indemnity (1936) 151

Patricia Highsmith: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955) 159

Chester Himes: Cotton Comes to Harlem (1965) 167

Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo: The Laughing Policeman (1968) 176

James Ellroy: The Black Dahlia (1987) 187

Thomas Harris: The Silence of the Lambs (1988) 198

Patricia Cornwell: Unnatural Exposure (1997) 208

Ian Rankin: The Naming of the Dead (2006) 218

Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2005) 227

End Note 241

References 243

Index 253

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From the Publisher

'An outstanding piece of work that deserves a wide audience. Peter Messent’s The Crime Fiction Handbook is essential reading. I can imagine no better introduction to the genre.’
David Schmid, University at Buffalo

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