Featuring History of Mystery/Detective Fiction and Other Literary Ramblings of Elizabeth Foxwell
Monday, December 26, 2022
Shirley Jackson, department store clerk.
Monday, December 19, 2022
Foxwell ebooks sale.
Monday, December 12, 2022
Second Oddest Book Title Award for McFarland.
Monday, December 05, 2022
Lady Audley in the dock.
Monday, November 28, 2022
A Bunburyist milestone.
A milestone sneaked up on me: The Bunburyist has passed its 1 millionth view. When I began this blog in November 2005, I really had no idea if anyone would be interested in my posts (visitors probably have noticed that I am particularly fond of archival mystery goodies and exhibitions on mysteries, as I think these can tend to be overlooked and are valuable resources). In recent years, I've had to cut back on blogging because of work and writing commitments and the addition of my blog on US women in World War I—even wondering at times if I should end this blog. So, if you've ever stopped by, thanks.
Here are the top-10 posts with the most views:
|Eugène François Vidocq, |
from Memoires de Vidocq,
Chef de la Police de Sureté
Jusqu'en 1827. Paris, 1828–29.
9. Remembering Adam West: The Detectives. Although Adam West probably is best known as the titular character in the TV series Batman, he previously played Detective Sergeant Steve Nelson in the TV series The Detectives.
8. Shoot to Kill (film noir, 1947). A murder involves a gangster, a DA, a DA's wife/secretary, and a reporter.
7. "Iniquity is catching": Frank R. Stockton's The Stories of the Three Burglars (1889). Burglars bargain with a wronged homeowner in this work by the author of "The Lady, or the Tiger?"
6. "Security Risk" (GE True, 1963). A tale of espionage narrated by Jack Webb, directed by William Conrad, and starring Charles Aickman.
5. "Iconic detectives" exhibition at Ohio State. Library exhibition that featured "detectives from dime novels, young adult books, comic books, films, and manga."
4. Hidden Fear (film, 1957). US cop John Payne works in Denmark to clear his sister of a murder charge.
3. "The Grave Grass Quivers," by MacKinlay Kantor. The poignant 1931 story by a Pulitzer Prize winner of a doctor who seeks to learn the fate of his long-missing father and brother.
2. "Committed" (with Alan Ladd, 1954). In this episode of GE Theater, a writer is framed for murder and confined to an asylum.
1. The dozen best detective short stories ever written. Selected by author-critics such as Anthony Boucher, John Dickson Carr, August Derleth, Howard Haycraft, Ellery Queen, James Sandoe, and Vincent Starrett.
Friday, November 25, 2022
McFarland's 40% off sale.
McFarland is having a 40% off sale on all its titles until Nov 28 with coupon code HOLIDAY22. It's a good time to stock up on the McFarland Companions to Mystery Fiction that I edit; check out the full companion lineup.
Monday, November 21, 2022
A friend of Sherlock Holmes.
|Irving Bacheller, from his|
1917 passport application
Monday, November 14, 2022
New: The Crime World of Michael Connelly.
Monday, November 07, 2022
McFarland nabs 3 nominees for Oddest Book Title.
After last year's triumph with Is Superman Circumcised?, McFarland now has three nominees for this year's Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title:
- Jane Austen and the Buddha: Teachers of Enlightenment by Kathryn Duncan (I looked at the final proofs of this book, which is an interesting discussion of Buddhist concepts that appear in Austen's work).
- The Many Lives of Scary Clowns: Essays on Pennywise, Twisty, the Joker, Krusty and More. ed. Ron Riekki (for those who love clowns in the horror genre).
- RuPedagogies of Realness: Essays on Teaching and Learning with RuPaul’s Drag Race, ed. Lindsay Bryde and Tommy Mayberry
Members of the public may cast their vote for the award (the deadline is November 26).Update, December 10, 2022. The winning book is McFarland's RuPedagogies of Realness: Essays on Teaching and Learning with RuPaul’s Drag Race, ed. Lindsay Bryde and Tommy Mayberry
Monday, October 31, 2022
"Sherlock Holmes: The Exhibition" in Minnesota.
Monday, October 24, 2022
"Kentish Tales" exhibition.
|J. S. Fletcher|
Monday, October 17, 2022
Clues 40.2: Columbo, Chandler, Christie, Dexter, Ms. Fisher, Teaching Forum, and more.
Clues 40.2 (2022) has been published, featuring its first Teaching Forum—this one on teaching crime fiction after Black Lives Matter, engaging with issues such as race, gender, and class. As usual, we are delighted to have contributors from around the world. See below for abstracts. Contact McFarland for subscriptions or a print copy of the journal.
Update, 12-30-22. The ebook versions of the issue are now available: Kindle, Nook, Google Play
Around the World Backwards and Forwards
CAROLINE REITZ (John Jay College of Criminal Justice-CUNY/CUNY Graduate School)
Caroline Reitz, the executive editor of Clues, provides an overview of the issue, including articles on Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Columbo, Colin Dexter, contemporary European crime narratives, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, forensic psychiatrists in crime fiction, Deon Meyer, Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries, and a forum on teaching crime fiction after Black Lives Matter.
Rethinking Raymond Chandler’s “The Simple Art of Murder” (1944/1946)
STEWART KING (Monash University, Australia)
This review article revisits Raymond Chandler’s essay “The Simple Art of Murder” and examines its ongoing relevance for crime fiction studies. It asks to what extent does Chandler’s iconic essay help us to understand and explain the crime genre, both historically and today.
Intersecting Crime: South African State Capture and the Hero-Criminal Binary in Deon Meyer’s The Last Hunt (2019) / SAM NAIDU (Rhodes University, South Africa)
Deon Meyer’s The Last Hunt can be categorized as African noir in its themes of political disillusionment, corruption, and crimes of the state against its citizens, shedding light on contemporary African-European relations. The article examines the novel’s intersections of time, space, national, and transnational with criminal and detective characters, and the blurriness of the hero-criminal binary.
Contemporary European Crime Narratives: “Euro-Glocal”?
THEO D’HAEN (University of Leiden, The Netherlands/Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)
The article makes a case for the emergence of a particularly European brand of crime fiction, film, and television series that fosters a closer European union.
“Mystery” Beyond Reason:
Mr. Quin, a Revealer of the Powers of Fiction According to Agatha Christie?
MARC VERVEL (Université de Paris, France)
The short story collection The Mysterious Mr. Quin has a special place in Agatha Christie’s work. In these stories where rational investigation opens up to the supernatural, Christie theorizes what is at stake in the desire to read and proposes an expanded conception of the detective story.
The Skeptical Poetics of Colin Dexter’s Morse Novels
Michal Sýkora (Palacký University, Czech Republic)
This article argues that Detective Chief Inspector Morse is a different figure in Colin Dexter’s novels than the popular television series. The author locates Dexter’s novels in British postwar crime fiction, with attention to representations of the social reality of Oxford and gender issues, and reads The Wench Is Dead to argue Morse’s hermeneutic approach to investigation reveals an ironic skepticism about truth.
Colin Dexter’s Classicism / MATTHEW WRIGHT (University of Exeter, UK)
Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse books, unlike any other detective novels, are saturated with references to Greek and Latin language and literature. This article explores the significance of Classics and classical scholarship in Dexter’s world and argues that the novels present a consistent (and consistently troubling) view of education and culture.
Monday, October 10, 2022
Sherlock Holmes Room in Japan.
Monday, October 03, 2022
The Thirty-Nine Steps on WWI podcast.
Monday, September 26, 2022
Clues CFP: “Teaching Crime Fiction as Creative Writing.”
Are you teaching crime, detective, or mystery fiction as a creative discipline? Have you expanded teaching it as a literary or sociological phenomenon to incorporate creative elements? Have you come from a creative background to incorporate the practice of writing crime and detective fiction? What has changed about your approach in recent years, and what changes do you anticipate?
Clues: A Journal of Detection is looking for 500- to 750-word contributions for volume 41.2 (2023). Accounts from all classroom spaces (high school, college, graduate school, prisons, etc.) and teachers at all stages of their careers are welcome. Student voices are also welcome! Submissions are due February 1, 2023. For more information or to submit essays, please contact Jamie Bernthal-Hooker, j.bernthal-hooker [at] uos.ac.uk.
Monday, September 19, 2022
Upcoming Tasmania mystery exhibition.
Monday, September 12, 2022
Sherlock Holmes exhibition redux.
Monday, September 05, 2022
Oslo exhibition on Jo Nesbø's series.
The National Library of Norway is offering the exhibition "Labyrinth: Tracing Harry Hole," which explores Jo Nesbø's popular series through the device of a labyrinth. Exhibit items include a reader's report on the first book in the series and an unpublished manuscript. The exhibition is on view until November 5, 2022.
Monday, August 29, 2022
Nominations open, Susan Rice Mentorship Award (Sherlockian studies).
Monday, August 22, 2022
Now out: Agatha Christie companion.
Monday, August 15, 2022
|The Hardy Boys |
Detective Handbook (1959)
|Edward Stratemeyer. NYPL|
Monday, August 08, 2022
New Foxwell ebooks: WWI and short story collections.
I have new ebooks available of two of my books:In Their Own Words: American Women in World War I presents first-person accounts by American women who served in World War I. Combating restrictions on the duties they could undertake, these women often faced discrimination, danger, and even death in their desire to serve their country, the men in combat, and the civilians suffering the effects of war. Their roles included ambulance driver, canteen worker, clerk, entertainer, fingerprint expert, librarian, nurse, physician, relief worker, reporter, stenographer, and switchboard operator. Cover design by Karen Jackson.
No Man's Land and Other Stories is a collection of my (mostly historical) mystery short stories (although it does include an affectionate pastiche of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson). It includes "No Man's Land" (Agatha winner, Macavity nominee) and "Keeper of the Flame" (first-prize winner, 2003 Cape Fear Crime Festival Short Story Contest). Settings range from the Civil War and the Titanic to World War I and the 1918 flu pandemic, including figures such as Dorothea Dix, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, and Oscar Wilde. Cover design by Karen Jackson.
Monday, August 01, 2022
Philby and Cold War intelligence.
Monday, July 25, 2022
Poe and Conan Doyle exhibition.
Monday, July 18, 2022
Even more on Simenon, Maigret, etc.
- The Blue Room
- Death Threats and Other Stories
- The Hand
- The Little Man from Archangel
- The Mahé Circle
- The People Opposite
- The Strangers in the House
- The Venice Train
- When I Was Old (featuring Simenon's thoughts on aging, justice, and other topics. Note that the Penguin edition was translated by mystery writer Helen Eustis)
Monday, July 11, 2022
Remembering Larry Storch.
|Larry Storch in "The Mystery of the Silent Scream"|
Although Larry Storch, who passed away at age 99 on July 8, may be best remembered for his role as Corporal Agarn on F Troop (with his often repeated refrain, "Who says I'm dumb?"), he had some memorable mystery-related appearances such as the following:
- "An Out for Oscar" (1963) on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour
- "The Jack Is High" (1964) on Kraft Suspense Theater (involving an armored car robbery investigated by an inspector played by Pat O'Brien)
- "Negative Reaction" (1974, featuring Dick Van Dyke) on Columbo
- "The Mystery of the Silent Scream" (1977) on The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries
Monday, July 04, 2022
P.D. James as Christian novelist.
Monday, June 27, 2022
My latest publications:
Pioneer aviator Ruth Bancroft Law, flight attendants book review.
My latest publications are in the autumn 2022 issue of Aviation History magazine:
Update, 7-16-22: HistoryNet has posted my article online (under the title "Female Flyers: Meet the Woman Who Strapped Her Feet to a Plane")
review The Great Stewardess Rebellion by Nell McShane Wulfhart, which focuses on key flight attendants who fought sexual discrimination and harassment, advancing equity in the workplace.
Monday, June 20, 2022
Margery Allingham's cricket parties.
Courtesy of the East Anglian Film Archive, you can view footage from cricket parties hosted by Margery Allingham and her husband, Philip Youngman Carter, that was shot by Joyce Allingham, Margery's sister, in the period 1937–50. There are some good shots of Margery.
Monday, June 13, 2022
Kickstarter campaign to re-record Bernard Herrmann.
As Scott Bettencourt notes in Film Score Monthly, Intrada has launched a Kickstarter campaign to support a re-recording by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra of Bernard Herrmann's scores to Nicholas Ray's On Dangerous Ground and Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much.
Monday, June 06, 2022
Gay pulp fiction exhibition, Emory University.
On view until October 7, 2022, at Emory University's Rose Library is the exhibition "Forbidden Loves and Secret Lusts: Selections from the Golden Age of Queer Pulp Fiction, which draws from the library's hundreds of such novels that were published from the 1950s to the 1970s.
Also, the library has added to its collection of Victorian yellowbacks.
Monday, May 30, 2022
Dorothy L. Sayers as anthologist.
Monday, May 23, 2022
The work of Mary Elizabeth Braddon.
|Dover ed. of Braddon's|
Lady Audley's Secret
Monday, May 16, 2022
Using mystery to teach professional skills.
Monday, May 09, 2022
Spotlighting the work of female Irish mystery writers.
Monday, May 02, 2022
The pioneers: early female fictional detectives.
Monday, April 25, 2022
When Rex Stout met John le Carré.
Bonuses for Nancy Drew and Patricia Moyes fans: There's a piece on the girl sleuth plus Moyes's novel Falling Star in the issue. Also, pp. 62–63 features a photo that includes Edgar awardees of that year and other MWA members. Among the luminaries, one can spot Clayton Rawson, Hillary Waugh, and Lawrence Treat in the back; Stout and Dorothy Salisbury Davis in the middle; Howard Haycraft in the front row at left; and Phyllis Whitney in the front row at right.
Monday, April 18, 2022
A new female sleuth.
Monday, April 11, 2022
Clues 40.1: Historical crime fiction.
Volume 40, no. 1 (2022) of Clues: A Journal of Detection—a theme issue on historical crime fiction guest edited by Rosemary Erickson Johnsen—has been published. The issue abstracts follow below; contact McFarland to order a print copy.
Update, May 1, 2022. The ebook versions of the issue are now available: Kindle, Nook, Google Play
We are happy to have the essay of professor emeritus Fred Erisman, who was a contributor to the first issue of Clues in 1980. Unfortunately, I do not have an update on our Ukrainian contributor who had to flee her town due to Russian bombing.
Historical Crime Fiction: A Cushion on the Seat
ROSEMARY ERICKSON JOHNSEN (Governors State Univ)
The guest editor of Clues 40.1 on historical crime fiction provides a brief history of related scholarship and discusses post–WWI India-set series by Massey and Mukherjee as representative of emerging trends. She previews the issue's articles on mysteries set in China, India, Latin America, Ukraine, and the United States.
CAROLINE REITZ (John Jay College of Criminal Justice–CUNY/CUNY Graduate Center)
Caroline Reitz, the executive editor of Clues, discusses two essays that appear in Clues 40.1 and a new call for submissions on pedagogy.
Rebecca Harding Davis and Early Women’s Detective Fiction
ALICIA MISCHA RENFROE (Middle Tennessee State Univ)
In Peterson’s Magazine, Rebecca Harding Davis developed one of American fiction’s earliest recurring detective figures in several mysteries that foreground the antebellum South as a historical setting. These stories illustrate the genre’s productive intersection with the gothic, destabilize narratives of the past, and complicate the detective’s traditional role in restoring social order.
Hardball Speaks to Our Hard Times
MARGARET J. OAKES (Furman Univ)
The settings of Sara Paretsky’s Hardball are Chicago’s glittering but decrepit political scene in the late 2000s and an open housing march led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1966 that became volatile and violent. Hardball’s instructional text shows the contemporary consequences of systemic racism stemming from Jim Crow laws, the development of police power, and waves of immigration.
Investigating Mexico’s History with Paco Ignacio Taibo II and Detective Héctor Belascoarán Shayne: On Which Side Are You?
PATRICIA VARAS (Willamette Univ)
This essay examines Paco Ignacio Taibo II’s approach to history as an effort to capture or rewrite well-known yet forgotten episodes in Mexican history. By retelling the 1971 Corpus Christi student massacre, channeling Pancho Villa’s ghost, and recovering Aztec artifacts in his novels, he ensures that his readers will not forget this history, providing a controversial insight into today’s Mexico.
Ukrainian Hero and the Habsburg Monarchy:
Retro Visions in Contemporary Ukrainian Historical Detective Fiction
SOFIYA FILONENKO (Berdyansk State Pedagogical Univ)
The series by contemporary Ukrainian writer Bogdan Kolomiychuk presents the adventures of police officer Adam Vistovych in Lviv (aka Lemberg). The author’s depiction of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early-twentieth century and its colony—Ukraine—highlights the social, political, national, and historical aspects of the mystery genre.
“The Truth Is Rarely Pure and Never Simple”: The Kidnapping of Charley Ross in Fact and Fiction
PHYLLIS M. BETZ (La Salle Univ)
This article compares the differences between Carrie Hagen’s nonfiction reconstruction of the 1874 kidnapping of Charley Ross and Mark Graham’s use of this event in his historical mystery. The main emphasis is how details of the actual event are altered to fit the requirements of each narrative form.
The Transcultural Construction of a Historical Chinese Murder Case: The Ninefold Murder
SABRINA YUAN HAO (Guangdong Univ of Foreign Studies)
This article explores the cross-cultural adaptations of a historical Chinese murder case. Focusing on three key texts published by An He in 1809, Wu Jianren in 1904, and Robert van Gulik in 1958, it investigates the potential of historicity to be used by authors of crime fiction to address concerns of their own times.
Abir Mukherjee’s Historical Crime Novels and the Contemporary Postcolonial
MOLLY SLAVIN (Georgia Inst of Technology)
Abir Mukherjee’s historical crime novels set in the British Raj interrogate colonial structures of violence. The author argues that Mukherjee uses these novels to riff on Golden Age detective novel tropes and communicate knowledge about imperialism, history, and postcolonialism to mass market detective novel readers in the twenty-first-century.
The Cultural Ideology of the Great War–Haunted British Detective in Historical Crime Fiction
MARZENA SOKOŁOWSKA-PARYŻ (Univ of Warsaw)
This article examines the cultural ideology underlying the constructions of the war-haunted detective in the historical crime fiction series by Rennie Airth, Jonathan Hicks, Charles Todd, and Jacqueline Winspear. These (re)imaginings of the Great War demonstrate the capacity of this literary genre to perpetuate the futility myth in the contemporary cultural memory of the 1914–18 British experience.
Time and Detective Novels: Exploring the Past and the Night in Ian Rankin’s John Rebus Series
IAN R. COOK (Northumbia Univ)
Given that time is an important theme within detective novels, this article explores the portrayal of time in Ian Rankin’s John Rebus series. More precisely, it draws on the concepts of temporality and relationality to critically examine two important temporal dimensions in the series: the past and the night.
Dick Francis and the Fine Arts
FRED ERISMAN (Texas Christian Univ)
Apart from P. D. James with Adam Dalgleish, mystery authors have rarely used an artist as their protagonist. Between 1972 and 2000, Dick Francis wrote seven such books, contrasting the artist’s world with the professional detective’s and exploring ways in which art equips the amateur to be as effective a crime-solving entity as the professional.
Donald K. Hartman, Ed. The Hypno-Ripper ELYSSA WARKENTIN (Univ of Manitoba)
Steven Powell, Ed. The Big Somewhere: Essays on James Ellroy’s Noir World DEIRDRE CONDIT (Virginia Commonwealth Univ)
Janice Allan, Jesper Gulddal, Stewart King, and Andrew Pepper, Eds. The Routledge Companion to Crime Fiction ROSA HARO FERNÁNDEZ (Univ of Málaga)
Phyllis M. Betz, Ed. Reading the Cozy Mystery: Critical Essays on an Underappreciated Subgenre PAMELA BEDORE (Univ of Connecticut–Avery Point)
Monday, April 04, 2022
Online exhibition, Teaching with Mass-Market Paperbacks.
|The Phantom of the Opera by |
Gaston Leroux, part of the
UNC Libraries exhibition
Monday, March 28, 2022
Covers by Tom Adams of Raymond Chandler.
Bookmaven on tumblr features 1970s covers by artist Tom Adams of various works by Raymond Chandler. Adams (1926–2019) was also known for his covers of Agatha Christie titles.
|A 2016 collection of Tom Adams covers|
|Cover by Tom Adams of |
Chandler's Pickup on Noon Street
Monday, March 21, 2022
Coming soon: Golden Age mystery map.
The Golden Age map joins Agatha Christie's England by Shedunnit's Caroline Crampton, and The Hardboiled Apple by Jon Hammer and Karen McBurnie, with art by Andy Gregg.
Monday, March 14, 2022
New film score releases.
Also out, according to Film Score Daily: the Maurice Jarre-composed score to the spoof Top Secret!.
Monday, March 07, 2022
The career of Len Deighton.
Monday, February 28, 2022
More Mysterious Journey episodes.
- The Phantom (based on "The Flaming Phantom" by Jacques Futrelle featuring the Thinking Machine)
- Poirot and the Egyptian Curse (based on "The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb" by Agatha Christie)
- Poirot Makes a Wager (based on "The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim" by Agatha Christie)
- The Tenth Clue (based on the Continental Op story by Dashiell Hammett)
- Who Killed Bobby Teal? (based on "Who Killed Bob Teal?" by Dashiell Hammett)
Monday, February 21, 2022
"Cowboys, Detectives, and Daredevils" exhibition.
|"Rubout" by Allen|
Anderson. New Britain
Museum of American Art
Monday, February 14, 2022
Margery Allingham, graphic novel character.
Monday, February 07, 2022
"Books, Bohemians and Baker Street" exhibition.
The online exhibition "Books, Bohemians and Baker Street: A Study in Sherlock in Special Collections" at University of Delaware Library features items in the library collections related to the Arthur Conan Doyle story "A Scandal in Bohemia," some unusual items pertaining to Sherlock Holmes (such as Julian Symons's speculation, "Did Sherlock Holmes Meet Hercule...?"), and letters from Conan Doyle.
Monday, January 31, 2022
Three mystery exhibitions, Toronto Public Library.
The following exhibitions just opened at the Toronto Public Library:
|Poster for Sherlock Holmes |
with William Gillette, 1901.
Arthur Conan Doyle Collection,
Toronto Public Library
• "Cracking the Case: Sleuths in Speculative Fiction" (Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy, Lillian H. Smith Library, Toronto Public Library; runs through April 2, 2022). See digitized items from the collection here.
• "A Study in Sherlock and His Creator: 50 Years of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection" (TD Gallery, Toronto Reference Library). See digitized items from the collection here.