Monday, March 29, 2021

Remembering the founding of Malice Domestic.

Barbara Mertz, by Sue Feder
My friend Dean James (aka Miranda James) and I were invited by Dr. Elizabeth Mertz (daughter of Barbara Mertz/Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters) to reminisce about the founding of the Malice Domestic convention in which her mother played such an integral role.  It's presented in two parts: Part 1, Part 2.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Clues 39.1 published: Domestic noir.

Volume 39, no. 1 (2021) of Clues: A Journal of Detection—a theme issue on domestic noir guest edited by Eva Burke and Clare Clarke—has been published. The abstracts follow below. To order the issue or a subscription, contact McFarland

Update, 5-10-21. This issue is now available on Kindle and Google Play.

Introduction: Domestic Noir

EVA BURKE AND CLARE CLARKE (Trinity College Dublin)
The guest editors discuss the development of the domestic noir subgenre and the contents of this theme issue of Clues, including an interview with British author Julia Crouch, who coined the term domestic noir, and articles on Irish and Scandinavian domestic noir; women’s book groups; mid-century antecedents of domestic noir; and authors such as A. J. Finn (aka Dan Mallory), Gillian Flynn, Tana French, Paula Hawkins, and Evelyn Piper (aka Merriam Modell).

At Home in Irish Crime Fiction
BRIAN CLIFF (Trinity College Dublin)
The author discusses the connections among domestic noir, Irish crime fiction, and the wider Irish literature, including examples from works by Jane Casey, Sinéad Crowley, Tana French, Catherine Ryan Howard, and Liz Nugent.

“I Am Not the Girl I Used to Be”: Remembering the Femme Fatale in The Girl on the Train
ROSIE COUCH (Cardiff University)
This article situates Rachel from Paula Hawkins’s novel The Girl on the Train (2015) as a contemporary incarnation of the femme fatale, redeployed within the domestic noir subgenre. The analysis demonstrates how Rachel’s perspective works to enact a feminist backlash against postfeminist rhetoric.

The Girl Who Got Mad: Challenging Psychopathology in Domestic Noir’s Antiheroines 
via Sarah Vaughan’s Anatomy of a Scandal (2018)

LIZ EVANS (University of Tasmania)
The author argues that Sarah Vaughan’s legal thriller Anatomy of a Scandal (2018) challenges domestic noir’s questionable tendency to pathologize anger and badness in its female protagonists (often depicted as survivors of rape or abuse) while showing how the persistent alignment of negative emotion with psychological instability undermines these central characters by impeding their self-agency.

Smoke and Mirrors: Dan Mallory, A. J. Finn, and The Woman in the Window as Postfeminist Noir Pastiche
ROBERTA GARRETT (University of East London)
The author discusses The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn (pseudonym of Dan Mallory), examining Finn’s treatment of female characters and the tropes of the noir and domestic noir subgenres through the lens of postfeminist criticism.

“He Had It Coming”: Reading the Revenge Plot in Domestic Noir’s Gone Girl (2012)
KATHARINA HENDRICKX (University of Sussex)
This article examines Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (2012) and its popularity with female readers. It suggests that female readers are not only interested in the portrayal of women’s experiences but also engage with the depiction of the revenge plot, which allows women readers to negotiate their frustration and anger with the current postfeminist climate.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Mystery radio plays from the Ohio Shakespeare Festival.

Illustration of W. W. Jacobs. NYPL

During the pandemic, the Ohio Shakespeare Festival has been performing original radio plays for at-home listening, including some based on mystery-related works. A few offerings:

Monday, March 08, 2021

New versions of Glaspell's "Trifles."

Susan Glaspell, NYPL
In February, the Deos Contemporary Ballet in Michigan debuted a ballet version of Susan Glaspell's "Trifles" (1916), the play that preceded her well-known short story, "A Jury of Her Peers" (1917), in which the female characters learn more than male law enforcement officials about the murder of a farmer. 

Upcoming virtual performances of "Trifles":

Ankeny Community Theatre (IA), March 28

University at Buffalo–SUNY, April 9–11

Monday, March 01, 2021

More on Chester Himes.

Chester Himes in 1967.
Fotocollectie Anefo,
Dutch National Archives
On UT Austin's Harry Ransom Center Web site, Melanie Alberts highlights a few documents on Chester Himes in the Ransom Center's Knopf archive, concentrating in particular on Himes's novel Lonely Crusade (1947) and his autobiography The Quality of Hurt (1971).