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Crime Scenes

Modern Crime Fiction in an International Context


Urszula Elias and Agnieszka Sienkiewicz-Charlish

Crime Scenes: Modern Crime Fiction in an International Context examines the ways in which crime fiction has developed over several decades and in several national literary traditions. The volume covers a wide spectrum of current interests and topical concerns in the field of crime fiction studies. It introduces twenty-four original essays by an international group of scholars divided among three main sections: «Genres», «Authors and Texts» and «Topics». Issues discussed include genre syncretism, intertextuality, sexuality and gender, nationhood and globalization, postcolonial literature and ethical aspects of crime fiction.
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Elżbieta Perkowska-Gawlik



The Guide to United States Popular Culture (2001) recognises the academic mystery novel as “a subgenre of mystery and detective fiction” (Browne 6). The action of most academic mysteries takes place within the college walls or on university campus and very often “center[s] on the manners and morals” (6) of people employed at or indirectly connected to academe. Members of faculty or administration are usually given the role of amateur detective and villain. Paradoxically, despite their important role for all academic institutions, students are rarely central characters of mystery academic fiction – they become witnesses or messengers, but hardly ever the main suspects or victims.

College mysteries (or academic murder mysteries, as they are sometimes called) are by no means a new literary phenomenon – the first novels that can be classified as such appeared at the beginning of the 19th century. However, as Ray Browne notes, “[t]he form did not come to full flower until the 1930s, when real-life academics began to write on-campus detective novels with complex structures and […] incisive treatments of the higher education environment” (6). The palm can be awarded to British authors, such as Dorothy L. Sayers, John Masterman and Michael Innes (the penname of J.I.M.Stewart), who were not only writers, but also distinguished scholars. Christine Poulson, a writer and a research fellow at the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies at Sheffield University, follows in the footsteps of her predecessors and in her academic mysteries sustains traditional patterns introduced in the 1930s....

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