Monday, October 11, 2021

Clues 39.2: Christie, Austen-Leigh, Robinson, Upfield, and more.

Volume 39, no. 2 (2021) of Clues: A Journal of Detection has been published. The issue abstracts follow below; contact McFarland to order a print copy. 

Update, 12-12-21. Ebook versions of the issue are now available: Kindle, Nook, Google Play

Introduction: So Many Books, So Little Time

CAROLINE REITZ (John Jay College of Criminal Justice-CUNY/CUNY Graduate Center)

Caroline Reitz, the new executive editor of Clues, provides an overview of the issue, including articles on authors such as Lois Austen-Leigh, Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie, Didier Daeninckx, Fergus Hume, Philip Kerr, Peter Robinson, and Arthur Upfield.

Australian Rules: Forensic Culture in the Fiction of Arthur W. Upfield
Four novels in Arthur W. Upfield’s Napoleon Bonaparte series—Winds of Evil (1937), Death of a Swagman (1946), The Widows of Broome (1950), and The Bachelors of Broken Hill (1950)—deal with multiple murders committed by a single individual in the outback. Each novel reveals the forensic culture of Australia: common investigative techniques, criminal profiling, forensic psychology, and the examination and interpretation of temporary trace evidence on the landscape.

Murder Most Incidental: Arthur Upfield’s Death of a Lake (1954)
 (University of Newcastle)
Arthur Upfield is well-known for positioning an Aboriginal detective, Inspector Napoleon “Bony” Bonaparte, as the protagonist for his series. In Death of a Lake (1954), Upfield challenges the conventions of mid-twentieth-century Australian crime stories not only through privileging an Indigenous man but also through disregarding the central concept of the modern crime novel: murder.

The Mysteries of the Colonial Metropolis: Fergus Hume’s The Mystery of a Hansom Cab and 
Donald Cameron’s Mysteries of Melbourne Life
ORLA DONNELLY ((Trinity College Dublin)
Fergus Hume’s The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (1886) and Donald Cameron’s Mysteries of Melbourne Life (1873) follow the tradition of urban crime writing. This essay examines three essential elements in these Melbourne crime novels: the treatment of crime and detection, the themes of physical and social mobility, and the exoticized images of urban street folk.

Death in a Literary Context: Detective Novels of the Golden Age as Enacted Criticism
ANDREW GREEN (Brunel University)
This article explores the nature of Golden Age crime narrative. It argues that the works of these authors are “enacted criticism”—creative acts that are fundamentally critical responses to genre—that can be read as mutually constitutive meaning-making “spaces”—texts within which form is constantly renegotiated within a literary context.

Clue-Burying and Misdirection-Making in Peter Robinson’s When the Music’s Over (2016)
CHRISTIANA GREGORIOU (University of Leeds)
Close stylistic inspection of detective novel writing can shed light on the skill of weighing up interpretations. In When the Music’s Over, Robinson relies on readers’ schematic expectations, stereotypes, and prejudices to generate false leads and bury a killer into the narrative background until his significance needs to be foregrounded.

Writing History into Fiction in Didier Daeninckx’s Meurtres pour mémoire
This article demonstrates Didier Daeninckx’s unique blending of historical fact and fiction, particularly the use of state archives in his breakthrough novel Meurtres pour mémoire (1984). It also examines intertextual references to nineteenth-century writers and the French New Wave cinema that expand the traditional boundaries of the genre.

History Detective: Reading the Weimar Republic in Philip Kerr’s Last Novel Metropolis (2019)
NEIL H. DONAHUE (Hofstra University)
Philip Kerr’s last novel Metropolis (2019) returns his detective, Bernie Gunther, to 1928 as both prequel and epilogue to his series of 14 novels. This essay locates the key to Gunther’s identity and actions in his relation to arch-Nazi Arthur Nebe.

Gothic Crimes and Flawed Detection: Lois Austen-Leigh’s The Incredible Crime (1931) 
and Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1818)
Lois Austen-Leigh’s The Incredible Crime, a Golden Age crime novel republished in 2017, cleverly exploits Jane Austen’s parody of gothic conventions in Northanger Abbey, importing her famous forebear’s revisionary irony into her own plot with subversive consequences.

Desire and Nonhuman Excess in Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep
CHRIS HALL (University of the Ozarks)
This article reexamines Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep (1939) via key psychoanalytic conceptualizations of desire. In doing so, it makes the case that analysis of desire in the novel has yet to satisfactorily account for desire’s excessive manifestations, which constitute a machinery that throws the novel’s bodies into question.

Delicious Death: Criminal Cake in and Beyond Agatha Christie’s A Murder Is Announced
This essay analyzes the intersection of food and crime in Agatha Christie’s A Murder Is Announced (1950). Set during postwar rationing, the novel turns on a decadent chocolate cake created with illegally acquired ingredients, thereby becoming a vector for Miss Blacklock’s “serious” crimes of fraud and murder. It concludes by considering Jane Asher’s 2010 re-creation of the cake.

Martin Edwards, ed. Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club
MONICA LOTT (Kent State University-Geauga)

Christopher Breu and Elizabeth A. Hatmaker, eds. Noir Affect
CLARE ROLENS (Palomar College)

Brian Cliff. Irish Crime Fiction

DIANE M. CALHOUN-FRENCH(Jefferson Community and Technical College)

Elizabeth Mannion and Brian Cliff, eds. Guilt Rules All: Irish Mystery, Detective, and Crime Fiction



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