Detective fiction featuring white women and people of colour, such as Barbara Neely's Blanche White and Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins, has become tremendously popular. Although they are considered 'light reading', mysteries also hold important cultural and social 'clues'. Race is both a cultural fiction and a central organizing principle of experience. 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 She notes that even those writers who appear to set out to revise outdated conventions repeatedly reproduce the genre's most conservative elements. Reddy states that the greatest obstacle to transforming fiction, is the fact that the genre itself is deeply embedded in the discourse of white (and male) superiority.
Published in vast numbers of titles, available everywhere, and sometimes selling in the millions, pulps were throwaway objects accessible to anyone with a quarter. Conventionally associated with romance, crime, and science fiction, the pulps in fact came in every genre and subject. American Pulp tells how these books ingeniously repackaged highbrow fiction and nonfiction for a mass audience, drawing in readers of every kind with promises of entertainment, enlightenment, and titillation. Focusing on important episodes in pulp history, Rabinowitz looks at the wide-ranging effects of free paperbacks distributed to World War II servicemen and women: how pulps prompted important censorship and First Amendment cases: how some gay women read pulp lesbian novels as how-to-dress manuals.
Using literary criticism, theory, and sociohistoric data, this book brings into conversation black migrations with mystery novels by African American women, novels which explore fully the psychic, economic, and spiritual impact of mass migratory movements.