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.
Women not only wrote mysteries but also created female characters that handily solved crimes. Smart, independent, and courageous, these nineteenth- and early twentieth-century female sleuths set the stage for Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Sara Paretsky’s V. I. Warshawski, Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta, and Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone, as well as TV detectives such as Prime Suspect’s Jane Tennison and Law and Order’s Olivia Benson. This book tells the story of women’s very early place in crime fiction and their public crusade to transform policing. Whether real or fictional, investigating women were nearly always at odds with society.
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.
An anthology devoted strictly to the pioneer female characters in crime fiction, the direct ancestors of everyone from Miss. Marple to V I Warshawski, as well as the great female criminal masterminds. Writers involved: W.S. Hayward, Andrew Forrester, C.L. Pirkis, Mary E. Wilkins, Anna Katharine Green, George R. Sims, Grant Allen, M. McDonnell Bodkin. Richard Marsh, Hugh C. Weir.
Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995). A portrait of the American suspense novelist Patricia Highsmith (1921–1995). Dispensing with the traditional chronological narrative, Schenkar divides her study into themed sections, which crisscross and mirror each other, embodying the themes of doubling and alter egos in Highsmith's work and life.
This collection of essays focuses on the girl sleuth, made famous by Nancy Drew but also characterized by other famous detectives like Cherry Ames, Trixie Belden, Linda Carlton, and even in contemporary media by Veronica Mars and Hermione Granger of the Harry Potter series. Topics include the disputed origins of Nancy Drew and the Stratemeyer Syndicate: the intertwined relationships between the Syndicate and Nancy Drew's many ghostwriters: the distinct and evolving textual identities of the Cherry Ames series: the adaptation of the traditional archetype by contemporary girl detectives like Veronica Mars, Lulu Dark, and Ingrid Levin-Hill: and the ways in which Harry Potter's Hermione Granger, while a central character in the series, is often at odds with the male-centric, fantasy-genre world of Harry Potter himself.
In 1977, Marcia Muller invaded the all-male domain of detective literature and within a decade was established as the mother of the female hardboiled private eye. She is now the author of four detective series, including the critically acclaimed Sharon McCone series of more than two dozen novels. This collection critically assesses Marcia Muller's writing and reevaluates current critical views on women's detective fiction in general. In the first two of the book's three sections, essays explore Muller's engagement with modern and postmodern feminism, ethnicity, and the socially underprivileged. The third section focuses on one of Muller's major themes, the trauma of history. Drawing from the feminist, historicist, mythic, psychoanalytic, and cultural approaches found in all three sections, the conclusion offers a panoramic perspective on Muller's accomplishments.
This study examines a number of previously overlooked or undervalued women detective fiction writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and traces their relationship to later women writers who shaped the future of the genre like Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. Creating female detectives and employing these narrative strategies helped women writers establish professional authority by providing them with ways of expressing their ability to write in this genre and adapting it as a vehicle for women's writing. Many critics have dismissed these early detectives as conventional, ignoring the genre's rich variety. Yet female fictional detectives appear as both paid professionals and gifted amateurs: single, married, widowed: older spinsters and young adventurers: detecting for pleasure and to clear their own or a loved one's name. In choosing to create female detectives who were both varied and unusual, women writers confronted some of their own literary anxieties and ultimately were able to explore the ways they would create new routes to women's authority within a male-dominated culture and specifically in the genre of detective fiction.
This work examines how lesbian detective fiction represents lesbian characters within the confines of the genre. As this book points out, such fiction reveals the lesbian's increasing visibility in the wider society. But it can still be difficult to find a representation of lesbian life in mainstream literature. Often the best place to find the lesbian represented in books is within the pages of genre fiction, especially the detective story. This book looks at how the lesbian characters’ public and private lives intersect, often at the point of coming out, or of moving from isolation to connection with the community. The author also looks at the use of violence and the acquisition and expression of authority within police systems.
La Plante produces award winning crime series, that frequently tackle controversial and difficult themes like pornography, paedophilia and serial murder. Integral to an understanding of her work is her status as a professional writer and producer in the television industry.
This critical study explores late twentieth century novels by women writers —including Doris Lessing, May Sarton and Barbara Pym— that feature female protagonists over the age of sixty. They break the silence that normally surrounds the lives of the aged, and this book investigates how older female protagonists are represented in relation to areas such as sexuality, dependence and everyday life. The text reviews literary critical attitudes toward fictions of aging: analyzes representations of physically dependent characters, whose anger over their failing bodies is often eased by relationships with their female friends: discusses how paradigms of female sexuality exclude the possibility of older women being sexually desirable: examines characters that live a contented life, finding a more polemical side to them than is noted in more conventional literary critiques: and analyzes the aged sleuth in classical detective fiction.
The authors discuss Agatha Christies novels in chronological order of publication, with a summary of the plot-line and, in the case of the more famous books, bibliographical data, background information on Christie's life, an account of the books' reception by readers and the press, and details of subsequent films and TV series. Richly illustrated.
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.