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Crime Scenes

Latin American Crime Fiction from the 1960s to the 2010s

Edited By Charlotte Lange and Ailsa Peate

Crime fiction has become a key element in Latin American literature. The rise in production of the genre can be explained by an urgency to explore issues of morality in societies which incorporate varying levels of censorship and corruption. Through a focus on the concept of the crime scene itself, this book identifies and interrogates some of the principal developments in contemporary Latin American crime fiction. In ten chapters which cover Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela, and generic diversity which spans police procedurals, narcoliteratura, postmodern detection, and historical portrayals of crimes, the authors investigate how the crime scene – which has always been central to the genre and its subgenres – critiques local and global issues, including social injustice, discrimination, neoliberalism, violence, identity, corruption, and memory.

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3 That’s Funny: Mexican Crime Fiction According to Jorge Ibargüengoitia (Charlotte Lange)

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CHARLOTTE LANGE

3 That’s Funny: Mexican Crime Fiction According to Jorge Ibargüengoitia

ABSTRACT

It is my contention that Jorge Ibargüengoitia paved the way for more recent Mexican authors of crime fiction by including humour into an otherwise grim genre. Las muertas (1977) and Dos crímenes (1979) parody long-established approaches to crime fiction while mocking Mexican society. The specific sites of crime described in the novels give way to the detailed portrayal of a larger crime scene: the fictional state of Plan de Abajo, populated by a bribable police force, an unscrupulous army and a hypocritical bourgeoisie. Ibargüengoitia uses parody for literary and extra-literary purposes: to deconstruct conventional crime fiction and to challenge societal norms. This chapter considers how Ibargüengoitia broke the mould and was instrumental in the gradual adaptation of an imported genre which is of growing relevance in a country in the grip of crime.

Crime fiction is often grim and is usually not associated with humour, at least not since the second half of the twentieth century. World-famous crime fiction by authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie certainly contain humorous elements. Holmes and Watson are undeniably an entertaining double-act and Miss Marple’s continuing popularity can be partly explained by her dry sense of humour. Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade and Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe are loved for their sarcastic one-liners, a tradition which has been continued across the globe and...

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