Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Clues 37.1: Canadian Detective Fiction, Nancy Drew, Shelley, Trauma, Dementia, and More.

Volume 37, no. 1 of Clues: A Journal of Detection has been published, which can be purchased from McFarland & Co. (Cree-French Canadian author Wayne Arthurson is on the cover). The abstracts for the issue follow below. I will update this post once the ebook versions of the issue are available.

Introduction / JANICE M. ALLAN (Univ of Salford) The executive editor of Clues discusses the contents of Clues vol. 37, no. 1, including articles on dementia in detective fiction, a Percy Bysshe Shelley poem viewed as a detective story, Wayne Arthurson, Giles Blunt, Gail Bowen, Arthur Conan Doyle, Laurie R. King, Nancy Drew, Ron Rash, Rene Saldana Jr., and Peter Temple.

The Sign of the Four and the Detective as a Disrupter of Order / NATHANAEL T. BOOTH (Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China). Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of the Four (1890) often is read in the context of British imperialism and bourgeois rationality, which stresses the problematic nature of Sherlock Holmes’s activity as a detective. Separated from its imperialist context, the novel shows a Holmes who unsettles (rather than restores) social order.

“I ain’t going to the jailhouse if I can help it”: The Thriller Impulse in Ron Rash’s One Foot in Eden / JIM COBY (University of Alabama in Huntsville). This essay examines how the contemporary Appalachian writer Ron Rash employs the tropes of mystery thrillers—tropes largely ignored in southern fiction—in his novel One Foot in Eden (2002), as he grapples with an increasingly urbanized Appalachia.

René Saldaña Jr.’s Innovations of Children’s Detective Fiction in the Mickey Rangel Series / AMY CUMMINS (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley). René Saldaña Jr.’s Mickey Rangel series (Arte Público, 2009–18) both fulfills and rewrites the conventions of children’s detective fiction. On the south Texas border of the United States, fifth-grade detective Mickey solves cases while facing social problems and unanswered questions, aided by a mysterious Angel as his secret sidekick.

Trauma and Contemporary Crime Fiction / MARY ANN GILLIES (Simon Fraser University, Canada). This article explores the role of trauma in contemporary crime novels by Laurie R. King and Peter Temple. It argues that, as understandings of what constitutes trauma have shifted over the last century, crime fiction has adapted as well, representing trauma in sophisticated and complex ways and, in so doing, mirroring the contemporary preoccupation with it.

The Case of the Missing Memory: Dementia and the Fictional Detective / MARLA HARRIS. This essay explores the challenges of creating a detective with dementia in Mitch Cullin’s A Slight Trick of the Mind (2005), Adele LaPlante’s Turn of Mind (2011) and Emma Healey’s Elizabeth Is Missing (2014). As these metaphysical narratives feature paradoxes of identity, they can help destigmatize this devastating condition.


“But the Cold World Shall Not Know”: A Reading of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Julian and Maddalo” as a Detective Story / ANTOINE DECHÊNE (Ohio State University). This essay offers a reading of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Julian and Maddalo” as a metacognitive mystery tale that asks important questions about the possibility and reliability of knowledge when the roles of detective, criminal, and victim are gradually interwoven.

The Expressive-Collaborative Construction of Morality in Canadian Detective Fiction / RACHEL HALIBURTON (University of Sudbury, Canada). This essay argues, through a brief exploration of the novels of Wayne Arthurson, Giles Blunt, and Gail Bowen, that the writers of Canadian crime fiction provide an ethical critique of the gap between Canadian self-perceptions and Canadian social realities, particularly those pertaining to First Nations peoples.

Nancy Drew, Sexual Deviancy, and Rewrites in Twentieth-Century America / BRITTNEY BROWN (University of Oklahoma). The original Nancy Drew books, written in the 1930s, were revised in the mid-twentieth century, making dramatic changes to the titular character. The author argues that the novels were affected by changing attitudes on gender during the mid-twentieth century, which was a time when the nation returned to heteronormative values.

Taking The Hidden Staircase to the Murder Castle: The Nancy Drew Mystery Series and the First Serial Killer in the United States / MICHELLE ANN ABATE (Ohio State University). The author argues that the references to Chicago in the Nancy Drew novel The Hidden Staircase (1930) suggest a new way of interpreting the text, such as seeing links to real-life serial killer H. H. Holmes.

REVIEWS
Margalit Fox. Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Detective Writer. NILS CLAUSSON

Ken Fuller. Hardboiled Activist: The Work and Politics of Dashiell Hammett.
 CYNTHIA S. HAMILTON

Victoria Stewart. Crime Writing in Interwar Britain: Fact and Fiction in the Golden Age. LAUREN ROSALES

Lawrence P. Jackson. Chester B. Himes: A Biography. 
CLARE ROLENS

Christiana Gregoriou. Crime Fiction Migration: Crossing Languages, Cultures and Media. HEATHER DUERRE HUMANN

Marcel Danesi. Cryptographic Crimes: The Use of Cryptography in Real and Fictional Crimes.  JOHN F. DOOLEY

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