Crime Fiction: A History, II
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1859-1930
• Scottish physician
• Writer of: detective stories,
science fiction, historical
novels, plays, romance poetry,
non-fiction
• Jesuit School
• Stonyhurst College
• University of Edinburgh, 187681
• Began writing short stories,
published before he was 20
• Ship’s doctor,
• Doctorate 1885
Portrait, 1897
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1859-1930
• Doctor in Southsea –
• No clients writing!
• “A Study in Scarlet”
1887,
• Sherlock
Homes
modeled
after
Joseph Bell
• Soccer,
cricket,
Married twice,
golf
5 kids
Sherlock Holmes
• The Sign of Four, 1890
• The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,
1892
• The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, 1894
• Holmes dies – Moriarty, Reichenbach
Falls, Switzerland
• The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1902
• Holmes reappears
• The Return of Sherlock Holmes, 1905
• The Valley of Fear, 1915
• His Last Bow, 1917
• The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes,
1927
• Pattern for the great detective
• Holmes: arrogant, omniscient, selfabsorbed drug addict.
• Deductive Reasoning and Inference
Conan Doyle and justice
• George Edalji
• Threatening letters
• Animal mutilation
• Court of Criminal
Appeal established
in 1907
• Julian Barnes:
Arthur & George,
2005
• Oscar Slater
• German Jew and
gambling-den
operator
• Bludgeoning an 82year old woman
• Inconsistencies‘
• Slater was framed
• Police Matrons in 1891
• Isabella Goodwin hired in
1896 as police matron
• Becomes first detective
police woman in New York,
1911
• World War I, 1914-17
• US prohibition of alcohol,
1919
• Decline in the popularity of
short stories
History
• First policewoman in
the UK, 1914, Edith
Smith
The Golden Age,
Agatha Christie, 1890-1976
• Years between 19201939
• Agatha Christie: “The
Mysterious Affair at
Styles”, 1920
• English setting
• Detectives: Hercule
Poirot (1920), Miss
Marple, 1926
• “The Murder of Roger
Ackroyd” 1926,
provoked a storm of
protest because of Dr.
Sheppard, the narrator.
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Mixed education
Traveling
Married twice, one child
Nurse and Pharmacist
during World War I
80 detective novels
56 languages
“The Mouse Trap”:
23,000 performances
The classical detective
story - clues, puzzle,
timetables, the great
detective, reason,
deduction, rules,
bourgeoisie, non-human,
devoid of love
Agatha Christie
The Golden Age
Dorothy Sayers (1893-1967)
• Writer, poet, playwright,
essayist, translator, Christian
humanist
• Student of classical and modern
languages, Oxford, 1915, first
class honors
• Blackwell’s, École des Roches,
Copywriter, advertising firm,
• Friends with T.S.Eliot and
C.S.Lewis
• Married once, no kids
• Turned to “serious” academic
work: translated Dante’s Divine
Comedy, and the French Song
of Roland
• The classical detective
story - clues, puzzle,
timetables, the great
detective, reason,
deduction, rules, nobility,
athlete, super-human - and
with love!
• Detective: Lord Peter
Death Bredon Wimsey ,
Whose Body, 1923
• 14 novels & short stories
Lord Peter Wimsey
History
• US prohibition of alcohol, 1919
• Wall Street Crash, leading to Great
Depression, 1929
• Alcohol prohibition repealed, 1933
• Word War II, 1939-45
• Dashiell Hammett: “Red Harvest”, 1929 &
Raymond Chandler: “The Big Sleep”, 1939.
Hard-boiled crime fiction
• Chandler and Hammett Black Mask - pulp magazine.
• The PI - Sam Spade and
Phillip Marlowe
• The dark side of society criticism of the US
• Strong first person narratives
• Film noir
• Ended the era of the
omniscient and arrogant
detective.
History
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World War II, 1939-45
Cold War, 1945-90
Joseph McCarthy heads anti-communist drive, 1950-52
Berlin Wall marks intensification of Cold War, 1961.
Cuban missile crisis, 1962
Assassination of President Kennedy, 1963
Civil Rights Acts outlaw racial and sexual discrimination in
the US, 1964
• US embroiled in Vietnam War, 1964
The Spy Novel
• Graham Greene:
“Brighton Rock”, 1938 and
Eric Ambler: “The Mask of
Demetrios”, 1939.
• Ian Flemming: “Casino
Royale”, 1953
• Graham Greene: “Our
Man in Havana”, 1958
• John le Carré (1961), Len
Deighton (1962),
Frederick Forsyth (1971)
The British Tradition
• The Literary Crime Novel
• P.D. James (1962), Ruth
Rendell (1964), Lynda La
Plante (1983) Elisabeth
George (1988), Minette
Walters (1993)
• Reginald Hill (1971), Colin
Dexter (1975)
• BBC
The American Tradition
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First person narratives,
somewhat hard-boiled
Elmore Leonard (1977),
James Elroy (1984),
Sue Grafton (A-1986),
James Lee Burke (1989),
Patricia Cornwell (1989)
Challenging the genre
• Jorge Luis Borges (1941), Umberto Eco (1983),
Paul Auster (1987) Peter Høeg (1992), Arturo
Perez-Reverte (1993)
Scandinavian Crime Fiction
– Liza Marklund: The Bomber,
1998
– Karin Fossum: Don't Look
Back, 1996
– Stieg Larsson: The Girl with
the Dragon Tattoo, 2005
– Henning Mankell:
Sidetracked , 1995
– Arnaldur Indridason: Jar
City, 2005
– Sjowall and Wahloo: The
Laughing Policeman
– Leif Davidsen: Lime's
Photograph
– Peter Høeg: Smilla’s Sense of
Snow
– Kerstin Ekman: Blackwater
Questions
• How are the two stories structured?
• What is the pattern of “detecting”?
• What are the characteristics of the two
detectives?
• What characterizes the “friend”?
• Are the two stories dated?
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