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Crime Scenes

Modern Crime Fiction in an International Context

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Edited By 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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Jadwiga Węgrodzka

Extract

 

Narrating a story is one of the most fundamental and powerful means man possesses of ordering and interpreting the world.

Peter Hühn, “The Politics of Secrecy and Publicity.”

Peter Hühn in his 1987 article “The Detective as Reader: Narrativity and Reading Concepts in Detective Fiction” discusses the “analogy of the detective’s activities to sign-interpretation, meaning-formation, and story-telling” (453) which he actually subsumes under the metaphor of reading: “The stories that are narrated in detective novels can profitably be described as stories of writing and reading insofar as they are concerned with authoring and deciphering plots” (451). I intend to look at the reading and writing in selected Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle as textual motifs rather than narratological metaphors connected with the analysis of multilevel contests of story and discourse, as reading and writing, and their “internal recursive repetition” (Hühn, “Politics” 42). I want to focus primarily on the constructional principles of the texts, which, in my view, reveal interpretation and storytelling, and not reading and writing, as central to the semantics of the considered short stories.

The metaphoric linking of crime investigation and reading can be found in many other critical analyses as well as in detective stories themselves – most famously perhaps in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902), when Sherlock Holmes, after hearing about the circumstances of Sir Charles Baskerville’s death in a yew walk near his house, exclaims: “‘If I had only been there...

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