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Introduction: Beginnings and Endings
/ JANICE M. ALLAN (Salford University)
The Clues executive editor outlines the content of Clues 38.1, with articles on authors such as Isaac Asimov, Cheng Xiaoqing, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ruth Dugdall, James Ellroy, Gillian Flynn, Dashiell Hammett, Tatiana Lobo, Satyajit Ray, Susanne Staun, and Olen Steinhauer.
“Floating Unmoored”: The World of “Tourism” in Olen Steinhauer’s Espionage Trilogy / ROBERT LANCE SNYDER (University of West Georgia)
Olen Steinhauer’s espionage trilogy dramatizes its protagonist’s struggle to forge a centered identity after years of service as a black-ops agent in the CIA’s fictive Department of Tourism. By committing himself to his wife and stepdaughter, Milo Weaver escapes a downward spiral into suicidal disintegration captured by the trope of “floating unmoored.” The series’ recursivity involves structural elements that can be identified as momentum and world-building.
Altering the Hypermasculine through the Feminine:
Female Masculinity in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl
/ BETH STRATTON
Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl offers a modern take on the neo-homosocial triangle that results in the triumph of a female masculinity. With the aid of his queer-coded sister, the character of Nick learns to temper his hypermasculinity with a more feminized version of masculinity to win back his wife, Amy.
Hard-Boiled Queers and Communists: James Ellroy’s The Big Nowhere / JOSHUA COMYN (Trinity College, University of Melbourne)
This article argues that the characterization of the killer in James Ellroy’s The Big Nowhere (1988), together with Ellroy’s development as a novelist, can be illuminated through the representation of psychoanalysis and Marxism within the novel, as well as by the historical context of the novel’s fictional setting.
Resisting Invisibility: Mothers and Human Trafficking in Ruth Dugdall’s Nowhere Girl and Susanne Staun’s Skadestuen
/ CHARLOTTE BEYER (University of Gloucestershire)
Human trafficking is regularly presented in twenty-first-century crime fiction, frequently through stereotypes of femininity but rarely involving mothers or maternal experience. This article seeks to remedy this gap in representation by analyzing two twenty-first-century crime novels featuring trafficking plots that focus specifically on the politics of representing mothers.
Memory for Sale: Neoliberalism and Crime in Postdictatorial Chile in
El corazón del silencio by Tatiana Lobo
/ JULIA GONZÁLEZ CALDERÓN
This article examines the image of postdictatorial Chile as depicted in the neopolicial novel El corazón del silencio (Heart of Silence, 2012) by Tatiana Lobo. The plot explores how neoliberal progress at the beginning of the new millennium has transformed a painful national past into a sort of tabula rasa in which the historic memory and voices of victims are erased in exchange for economic growth and material wealth.
Postcolonial Detectives and the Subtle Art of Stealing It Back
/ MICHAEL HARRIS-PEYTON (University of Delaware)
Using the mysteries of Satyajit Ray and Cheng Xiaoqing as cases, this article posits that “transgressive” formal changes to the crime fiction genre in a postcolonial context, like anticolonial “counter-thefts” committed by heroic detective figures, belie the genre’s capacity for articulating non–Eurocentric juridical norms. Instances of this capacity continue to be marked as exceptional, ignoring the genre’s historical development via intercultural contact.
“Scoring Off a Foreigner?”
Xenophobia, Antisemitism, and Racism in the Works of Agatha Christie
/ SHANE BROWN
Some members of the press and fans believed the BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie’s The A.B.C. Murders (2018) portrayed Poirot as “a victim of anti-migrant prejudice, living amongst xenophobic neighbours” (Clark). This article examines how Christie’s work reflected, fought against, and yet was sometimes complicit with the xenophobia, antisemitism, and racism within the British society of Christie’s time.
A Study in Daniel: Tracing the Biblical Origins of Sherlock Holmes /
REBECCA JOSEPHY (Oakland University)
In the nineteenth century, a biblical episode in the Book of Daniel, known colloquially as Belshazzar’s Feast or “The Writing on the Wall” scene, became extremely popular. The author argues that A Study in Scarlet not only borrows its main mystery from this biblical story but also its deeper views of punishment and justice.
Pragmatic Truth, Lies, and the Black Bird: Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon
(Royal Military College of Canada)
This article proposes that the main theme of Dashiell Hammett’s novel The Maltese Falcon is the search for pragmatic truth. By highlighting differences between this novel and typical hard-boiled crime stories, a new interpretation of the Flitcraft parable reveals that Charles Peirce’s pragmatism replaces magic or religion in this inverted romance.
“A Necessary Clue”: The Mysteries of Isaac Asimov
/ ELIZABETH FOXWELL
Although Isaac Asimov’s writings include a substantial number of mysteries, criticism has centered on his sci-fi mystery series featuring detective Elijah Baley and robot R. Daneel Olivaw, with his mainstream mysteries dismissed as negligible. This article discusses works such as Asimov’s neglected The Death Dealers (aka A Whiff of Death, 1958) and serious themes in his mysteries.
John Cullen Gruesser. Edgar Allan Poe and His Nineteenth-Century American Counterparts.
J. K. Van Dover. The Detective and the Artist: Painters, Poets and Writers in Crime Fiction, 1840s–1970s. ELIZABETH BLAKESLEY
Cheryl Blake Price. Chemical Crimes: Science and Poison in Victorian Crime Fiction.
Mary Stoecklein. Native American Mystery Writing: Indigenous Investigations.
Mary Evans, Sarah Moore, and Hazel Johnstone. Detecting the Social: Order and Disorder in Post–1970s Detective Fiction.