Monday, October 09, 2017

Clues 35.2 published: Bentley, Charteris, Christie, Hammett, Melville, et al.

Clues 35.2 (2017) has been published; abstracts follow below. In addition to the print version (which can be ordered from McFarland), the issue is available on Kindle and Google Play.

Introduction: In Conversation
Janice M. Allan (University of Salford)
The executive editor of Clues discusses the contents of the issue, including analyses of works by E. C. Bentley, Benjamin Black, Andrea Camilleri, Leslie Charteris, Agatha Christie, Tana French, Dashiell Hammett, and Herman Melville, and the TV series True Detective.

“The Impotence of Human Reason”:
E. C. Bentley’s Trent's Last Case and the Antidetective Text 

Nathan Ashman (University of Surrey)
This article considers the subversion of the analytical detective format in E. C. Bentley’s Trent's Last Case (1913). Exploring the text’s problematization of concepts such as logic and reason as well as its disruption of the detective’s ocularcentric interpretative framework, the author highlights the ways in which Trent’s Last Case unsettles delineations between the classic analytic detective story and the metaphysical or antidetective text.

Watchful Eyes and Smiling Masks in The Maltese Falcon 
Nils Clausson
This article calls attention to the more than 250 references to eyes and their pervasive role in Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, arguing that the novel portrays a world in which trying to see past duplicity, dissimulation, and role playing of others, while seeking to hide one’s own, is pervasive.

Labyrinths of Uncertainty:
True Detective
and the Metaphysics of Investigation

Paul Sheehan and Lauren Alice (Macquarie University)
This article outlines some of the salient features and ad hoc history of metaphysical detective fiction (MPDF). Using True Detective season 1 as a case study, it explores how the series takes advantage of new programming freedoms to dramatize MPDF for a “broadcast literature” audience.

“A wholly other world of things, hidden”:
Benjamin Black’s and Tana French’s Criminal Worlds 

Kersti Tarien Powell (Saint Joseph's University)
This essay examines the recent success of Irish crime fiction through the works of Tana French and John Banville/Benjamin Black. Whereas the classic detective novel seeks to narrow multiple possibilities down to one determinate solution, French and Black resist this narrative pattern. In so doing, their novels both reclaim and reinvent the Irish literary tradition.

Crime Stories and Urban Fantasy
Stefan Ekman (University of Gothenburg)
Among the many unexplored areas of urban fantasy is its relation to crime fiction. This article explores how features of the crime story are used to emphasize, reinforce, or introduce urban fantasy’s social commentary. It looks at the genres’ relationship, analyzing three urban fantasies and their respective crime fiction elements.

Camilleri’s Montalbano: Aging, Nostalgia, and the Midlife Crisis
Stephen Derek Kolsky (University of Melbourne)
Salvo Montalbano, the protagonist of Andrea Camilleri’s detective series, goes through a midlife crisis that creates a biographical and ideological line of separation between the earlier and later novels, resulting in a new emphasis on the personal in the form of fleeting passionate engagements and less on social commitment.


Parallel Lives, Parallel Worlds: Leslie Charteris and “The Saint”
Ted Beardow
This article examines the close relationship between author and character in the fiction of Leslie Charteris. Charteris created his thriller hero, Simon Templar or “the Saint,” as an image of what he was and what he would like to have been. Templar’s activities, attitudes, and multifaceted nature strongly reflect the life, experience, and emotions of his creator.

“Tea and scandal at four-thirty”: Fantasies of Englishness and Agatha Christie’s Fiction of the 1930s and 1940s
Christopher Yiannitsaros

Through examining the ways in which three of Agatha Christie’s novels expose the imperial underpinnings of the English village, invert ideas regarding miscegenous relationships and spotlight the decline of the English ancestral estate, this article reassesses Christie’s articulation of English national identity, arguing that her relationship with established notions of Englishness is more ambivalent than is often recognized.

A Strange Night in a Strange House:
The Country House as Queer Space in Interwar Mystery Fiction 
Charlotte Charteris (Churchill College, University of Cambridge)
Drawing on Barry McCrea’s work on Arthur Conan Doyle, this article challenges claims that the interwar country-house mystery arose from reactionary nostalgia for a “dead” institution. Responding not to a sudden death but to a slow decline, the form in fact facilitated the country house’s reconfiguration as a biologically sterile but narratively generative queer space.

African American Crime and Physiognomic Detection in Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno Brian Baaki (Rutgers University)
Placing Herman Melville’s historical novel Benito Cereno (1855) in the context of the antebellum north, this essay explores its representation of criminal detection. Melville’s novella mainly relates the thoughts and perceptions of American sea captain Amasa Delano who, suspecting some sort of plot or treachery aboard a strange ship, employs a method of detection that evokes physiognomic theories developed near the time of the story’s setting in the late-eighteenth century.

REVIEWS
Yan Zi-Ling. Economic Investigations in Twentieth-Century Detective Fiction: Expenditure, Labor, Value. Mary Anna Evans
 
Susanna Lee. Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Decline of Moral Authority Annika R. P. Deutsch

Robert Lance Snyder. John le CarrĂ©’s Post-Cold War Fiction. David Seed

Enrico Minardi and Jennifer Byron, eds. Out of Deadlock: Female Emancipation in Sara Paretsky's V. I. Warshawski Novels and Her Influence on Contemporary Crime Fiction. Susan Rowland

Carolina Miranda, Jean Anderson, and Barbara Pezzotti, eds. Serial Crime Fiction: Dying for More. Jennifer Schnabel

Kecia Ali. Human in Death: Morality and Mortality in J. D. Robb's Novels Heta Pyrhönen

Susan Rowland. The Sleuth and the Goddess: Hestia, Artemis, Athena and Aphrodite in Women’s Detective Fiction. Phyllis M. Betz

Index to Volume 35

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