By Charles J. Rzepka

A Companion to Crime Fiction provides the definitive advisor to this renowned style from its origins within the eighteenth century to the current day

  • A choice of forty-seven newly commissioned essays from a staff of best students around the globe make this Companion the definitive advisor to crime fiction
  • Follows the advance of the style from its origins within the eighteenth century via to its exceptional latest popularity
  • Features  full-length serious essays at the most vital authors and film-makers, from Arthur Conan Doyle and Dashiell Hammett to Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese exploring the ways that they've got formed and encouraged the field
  • Includes huge references to the main up to date scholarship, and a complete bibliography

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Indd 20 12/14/2009 4:48:39 PM From The Newgate Calendar to Sherlock Holmes 21 published in the popular Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal 1849–53. Russell overcame the class problem by making “Waters,” his policeman protagonist, a gentleman forced into police work after losing his fortune to dishonest gamblers (Worthington 2005). ” The stories proved popular, beginning what Philip Collins calls a “vogue for yellow-back detective stories” (Collins 1992: 211) which continued into the 1860s and beyond (“yellow-backs” were cheap novels bound in yellow paper).

Collins’s novel was quickly followed by Mrs Henry Wood’s East Lynne (1860–1), where cross-class marriage, seduction and adultery are combined with a sub-plot of mystery and murder. Charles Reade’s Hard Cash (1863) falls into the sensation category, as do novels by “Ouida” and Rhoda Broughton. Canonical novelists such as George Eliot, Anthony Trollope and Thomas Hardy (whose first book Desperate Remedies (1871) draws on what seems like all the tropes of sensation fiction) incorporated sensational elements into their narratives.

The subgenre of classic investigative crime fiction settled into its most recognizable form – the golden age clue-puzzle model – in the period immediately following World War I. indd 30 12/14/2009 4:48:43 PM From Sherlock Holmes to the Present 31 Lovesey’s Victorian Detective Sergeant Cribb in the 1970s; Brother Cadfael in Ellis Peter’s Medieval whodunits (1970s through 1990s); and, detecting crimes from the 1990s into the twenty-first century, the resilient, plus-size black female protagonists of Barbara Neely’s novels and Alexander McCall Smith’s phenomenally successful The No.

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