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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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Introduction: Crime Scenes in Latin America’s novela negra (1960s–2010s) (Charlotte Lange / Ailsa Peate)


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Introduction: Crime Scenes in Latin America’s novela negra (1960s–2010s)

This collection seeks to develop knowledge on a popular genre situated within a geographical area which is frequently associated with civil unrest, human rights abuses and violence, but whose cultural production above all in relation to the crime genre has been frequently overlooked as a revelatory genre which draws a multitude of Latin American countries together. Through a focus on authors both popular, new to the scene, and lesser-known, this collection aims to deepen the understanding of crime fiction in Latin America from the 1960s to the 2010s. Spanning novels produced in Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile and Venezuela, this book connects the works through the theme of crime scenes in order to deepen knowledge on the crime novel in countries which are not, on an international level, necessarily associated with its production.

Contemporary crime fiction, including that produced in Hispanic countries, is widely seen as having its roots in the North American hard-boiled genre of the 1940s (see Hart 1987, Godsland 2007, Nichols 2011 and Oakley 2012). These narratives relied on particular plot devices and characteristics such as the lone detective situated on the margins of legality, the dangerous woman as embodied by the femme fatale, whose self-serving greed and emasculating licentiousness threaten and distract the detective, and had a focus on the search for truth within a cynical society. This genre, first...

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