A Companion to Crime Fiction / Edition 1

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A Companion to Crime Fiction presents the definitive guide to this popular genre from its origins in the eighteenth century to the present day

  • A collection of forty-seven newly commissioned essays from a team of leading scholars across the globe make this Companion the definitive guide to crime fiction
  • Follows the development of the genre from its origins in the eighteenth century through to its phenomenal present day popularity
  • Features  full-length critical essays on the most significant authors and film-makers, from Arthur Conan Doyle and Dashiell Hammett to Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese exploring the ways in which they have shaped and influenced the field
  • Includes extensive references to the most up-to-date scholarship, and a comprehensive bibliography
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Including a helpful introduction by Rzepka and conclusion by both editors, the volume is a welcome addition to the impressive "Blackwell Companion to Literature and Culture" series and to scholarship on crime and detective literature. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers. " (Choice, 1July 2011)

"Whilst the editors admit that the collection is not entirely representative (there is no mention of Japanese manga, for instance, or any consideration of hybrids of crime and science fiction), this companion offers an encyclopaedic account of crime fiction and its generic cross-fertilisations, and is an essential guide for students and scholars alike." (Routledge ABES, 2011)

"This substantial and informative book covers a wide variety of themes within the genre and also a long time span from the eighteenth century to the present . . . It will give all aficionados of the genre hours of enjoyment. It is indeed a trusty companion that will entertain and add to our knowledge." (Reference Reviews, 2011)

"It will give all aficionados of the genre hours of enjoyment. It is indeed a trusty companion that will entertain and add to our knowledge." (Languages & Literature, 2011)

"Several of the contributors praise books and authors long out of print. Hopefully, this companion will encourage readers and librarians to hunt them down and enjoy." (Book News, 1 March 2011)

"In all, despite its shortcomings in terms of narratology and a few logical inconsistencies, Rzepka and Horsley's Companion to Crime Fiction offers a broad-ranging and well-argued introduction to this field of popular culture. Beginning students will certainly profit from its thematic diversity and wide historical reach." (Kult Online, 2011)

"A Companion to Crime Fiction goes into enormous detail but is reasonably easy to read. It is not an academic-styled book but a guide to how crime fiction has developed over time to accommodate an increasingly demanding audience/reader. With essays from some of the most educated scholars in this field of research, the reader gains a greater understanding in terms of a general overview of the genre, individual authors and producers of film, the blurred lines between crime fiction and other genres and an in depth, well researched analysis of crime fiction itself." (M/C Reviews, November 2010)

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Charles Rzepka is Professor of English at Boston University, where he teaches and writes on British Romanticism, popular culture, and detective and crime fiction.   His publications include The Self as Mind (1986), Sacramental Commodities (1995), Detective Fiction (2005), and Essays, Inventions, Interventions (2010).

Lee Horsley is Reader in Literature and Culture at Lancaster University, where she teaches two specialist crime courses. Her publications include Political Fiction and the Historical Imagination (1990), Fictions of Power in English Literature 1900-1950 (1995) Twentieth-Century Crime Fiction (2005), and an expanded paperback edition of the 2001 publication The Noir Thriller (2009).

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Table of Contents

List of Figures.

Notes on Contributors.

Introduction: What Is Crime Fiction? (Charles J. Rzepka).

Part I History, Criticism, Culture.

1 From The Newgate Calendar to Sherlock Holmes (Heather Worthington).

2 From Sherlock Holmes to the Present (Lee Horsley).

3 Criticism and Theory (Heta Pyrhönen).

4 Crime and the Mass Media (Alain Silver and James Ursini).

5 Crime Fiction and the Literary Canon (Joel Black).

Part II Genre of a Thousand Faces.

6 The Newgate Novel and the Police Casebook (Lauren Gillingham).

7 From Sensation to the Strand (Christopher Pittard).

8 The "Classical" Model of the Golden Age (Susan Rowland).

9 Early American Crime Fiction: Origins to Urban Gothic (Alexander Moudrov).

10 The "Hard-boiled" Genre (Andrew Pepper).

11 The Pursuit of Crime: Characters in Crime Fiction (Carl Malmgren).

12 Crime, Forensics, and Modern Science (Sarah Dauncey).

13 The Police Novel (Peter Messent).

14 Noir and the Psycho Thriller (Philip Simpson).

15 True Crime (David Schmid).

16 Gangs and Mobs (Jonathan Munby).

17 Historical Crime and Detection (Ray B. Browne).

18 Crime and the Spy Genre (David Seed).

19 Crime and the Gothic (Catherine Spooner).

20 Feminist Crime Fiction and Female Sleuths (Adrienne E. Gavin).

21 African-American Detection and Crime Fiction (Frankie Bailey).

22 Ethnic Postcolonial Crime and Detection (Anglophone) (Ed Christian).

23 Crime Writing in Other Languages (Sue Neale).

24 Postmodern and Metaphysical Detection (Patricia Merivale).

25 Crime and Detective Literature for Young Readers (Christopher Routledge).

26 Crime in Comics and the Graphic Novel (Arthur Fried).

27 Criminal Investigation on Film (Philippa Gates).

Part III Artists at Work.


28 William Godwin (1756–1836) (Philip Shaw).

29 Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) (Maurice S. Lee).

30 Wilkie Collins (1824–1889) (Andrew Mangham).

31 Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930) (John A. Hodgson).

32 Raymond Chandler (1888–1959) (Leroy Lad Panek).

33 Agatha Christie (1890–1976) (Merja Makinen).

34 James M. Cain (1892–1977) (William Marling).

35 Dorothy L. Sayers (1893–1957) (Esme Miskimmin).

36 Dashiell Hammett (1894–1961) (Jasmine Yong Hall).

37 Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986) (Alicia Borinsky).

38 Chester Himes (1909–1984) (Stephen Soitos).

39 David Goodis (1917–1967) (David Schmid).

40 P. D. James (1920–) (Louise Harrington).

41 Patricia Highsmith (1921–1995) (Bran Nicol).

42 Elmore Leonard (1925–) (Charles J. Rzepka).

43 Sara Paretsky (1947–) (Malcah Effron).

44 Walter Mosley (1952–) (John Gruesser).


45 Alfred Hitchcock (1899–1980) (Nick Haeffner).

46 Martin Scorsese (1942–) (Mark Desmond Nicholls).

47 John Woo (1946–) (Karen Fang).

Conclusion (Charles J. Rzepka and Lee Horsley).



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