Monday, September 25, 2023

Clues 41.2: Chilean detective fiction, Connelly, Johnson, Penny, Teaching Forum on Crime Fiction and Creative Writing.

Clues 41.2 (2023) has been published (abstracts below). For a print issue or a subscription, contact McFarland.
• Ebooks available (Kindle, Nook, Google Play).

Introduction: “The Warp and Woof of Every Moment”
CAROLINE REITZ (John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY Graduate Center)
The executive editor of Clues provides an overview of the issue, including articles on Chilean crime fiction, on Batman, and on detective fiction and philosophy;a Teaching Forum on the relationship of crime fiction and creative writing; and articles on authors Sherman Alexie, Michael Connelly, Craig Johnson, Kevin Major, and Louise Penny.

Spotlight on... Detective Fiction in Chile: Developments in the Genre

KATE M. QUINN (Univ of Galway, Ireland)
This article discusses the consolidation in the 1990s of Chile’s neopolicial works that combine hard-boiled and political elements, reassesses earlier twentieth- century genre writers, and examines the wider diversity of production up to the present day. It considers the conditions of genre production in Chile and the challenge of wider access to international readers.

“Still harping on daughters”: Maddie in Michael Connelly’s Hieronymus Bosch Series
In Michael Connelly’s books about detective Hieronymus Bosch, Bosch’s daughter Maddie is closely connected to many preoccupations of the series even when a seemingly minor presence. Romance texts such as Arthurian narratives and Spenser’s Faerie Queene are the best keys to interpreting Maddie’s roles in the series and larger questions about crime fiction.

From Alexie’s Indian Killer to Johnson’s Longmire Series: Expanding the Landscape of the American Indian Detective Novel
ELIZABETH ABELE (Gulf Univ for Science & Technology, Kuwait)
The essay examines Sherman Alexie’s Indian Killer, a crime novel that critiques Native American culture mediated through White American commerce, authors, and academics, as well as Craig Johnson’s Longmire series as a development and a departure from American Indian crime fiction in the late-twentieth century.

“Not everything buried is actually dead”:
The Detective as Historian in Louise Penny’s Bury Your Dead (2010)

AOILEANN NÍ ÉIGEARTAIGH (Dundalk Inst of Technology, Ireland)
Louise Penny’s Bury Your Dead (2010) inserts a Francophone detective into the heart of English culture in Québec, facilitating an investigation of historical Québécois tensions between the communities. Inspector Gamache’s resolution of the case suggests that acknowledging these cultural differences and finding a way to compromise are characteristics that continue to distinguish contemporary Canadian society. 

Sunset Tourism in Kevin Major’s One for the Rock, Two for the Tablelands, and Three for Trinity: Travel and Identity in Three Newfoundland and Labrador Crime Novels
TOM HALFORD (Memorial Univ of Newfoundland, Canada)
This essay considers the complex relationship among crime fiction, tourism, and identity in One for the Rock, Two for the Tablelands, and Three for Trinity by Kevin Major, which are set in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Major flirts with the concept of dark tourism as he takes readers into sites of loss and trauma but ultimately is more invested in highlighting and preserving aspects of provincial identity.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Clues CFP: "Disability and Detective Fiction"

Theme Issue of Clues: A Journal of Detection
Guest Editors: Susannah B. Mintz (Skidmore College) and Mark Osteen (Loyola University Maryland) 

The guest editors welcome proposals for a theme issue of Clues focusing on the representation of disability, broadly defined, in crime and mystery fiction, television shows, films, and other media. We seek a wide range of critical and cultural perspectives on how bodymind anomalousness features in stories about wrongdoing, from the maimed and scarred villains of Conan Doyle to the neurodivergent hero-sleuths of contemporary popular culture. In what ways have impairment, disfigurement, and disease been used to raise the stakes of fear and upheaval in crime stories? How do such narratives perpetuate or challenge ableist notions of order and resolution? Does corporeal vulnerability stoke our pity, sympathy, or admiration—whether for criminals, victims, or detectives whose genius seems to triumph over adversity? Conversely, do the contours of disability facilitate alternative modes of sleuthing and lead to unexpected forms of justice? What alternate forms of knowledge do these characters and texts present and endorse? Since the genre of crime by definition entails what and how we know, how have authors—over time and around the world—engaged disability to probe the meaning of truth? 

Possible topics may include but are not limited to:

• Disability as the mark of criminality   

• Disability as a crime—or as damage—that must be redeemed 

• Disability as metaphor for social decay 

• Supercrip crime solvers and criminals 

• Analytical prowess as compensation for physical or emotional loss 

• Neurodivergence and the lonely sleuth 

• Intersectional plots pairing disability with gender, race, class, and sexuality 

• Disability as affective vector: upping the emotional ante 

• Specific impairments as modes of knowing: detection and “cripistemology”   

Submissions should include a proposal of 250–300 words and a brief bio. Proposals due: March 15, 2024. Submit proposals to: Prof. Susannah B. Mintz, Dept. of English, Skidmore College, email:, and Prof. Mark Osteen, Dept. of English, Loyola University Maryland, email: Full manuscripts of 5,000 to 6,500 words based on an accepted proposal will be due in September 2024.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Learning languages through mysteries.

André Klein's Heidis Frühstück:
A Detective Story for German
Language Learners

I love this 4 September 2024 article by Mengmeng Tu in I, Science about learning another language through detective stories. It's further evidence that the mystery genre serves many purposes (like Rapid Reads' mysteries to encourage reluctant readers, English as a second language learners, and adults involved in literacy programs).

FYI, the Summer 2021 issue of I, Science focuses on Mystery, with articles such as "The Serial Killer Gene: Myth or Truth?" and "Is Deduction Even Science, Mr. Holmes?"

Monday, September 04, 2023

New audiobook:
The D'Arblay Mystery by R. Austin Freeman.

A new free audiobook from Librivox is The D'Arblay Mystery by inverted mystery pioneer and physician R. Austin Freeman. First published in 1926, the novel features forensic expert Dr. John Thorndyke looking into the death of a sculptor that appears to be suicide. A reviewer in the 26 Sept. 1926 New York Times praised its "exciting climax." The 13 Oct. 1926 Punch reviewer deemed it "engrossing enough, but it is also a little intricate." H. C. Harwood in the 4 Sept. 1926 Outlook declared, "'The D'Arblay Mystery' is the best detective story I have struck of late; so elaborate, so logical, so persuasive."

Illustration from R. Austin Freeman's
"The Blue Sequin," June 1910 McClure's Magazine