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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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Miriam Loth

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“There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility.”

Stieg Larsson, The Girl who Played with Fire.

Here is an interesting term: murderee. What is a murderee? The term was made popular in Frank Iles’ crime novel Before the Fact (1932) in which the female protagonist realises that she is a “born victim” for murder (242). Basically, murderees are culpable of their own homicide. Their murderers might not even want to take a life, but murderees instigate their own murders (Hilfer 75; 92-95). To follow this thought through: a murderee victim would be guiltier than their actual murderer and the murderer a victim of the murderee. This gives rise to some unsettling questions: How can we assert guilt or innocence? Who is actually responsible for the murder? How is such a murder to be punished?

The term “crime fiction” often evokes the names of classic novelists like Arthur Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie with their cunning detectives and surprising solutions. Traditionally, the literary genre of crime fiction raises certain expectations in its readers. For example: the guilt of the murderer should be proven beyond doubt by the detective at the end of a crime story. Even if we disregard such an unusual case as that of a murderee, a review of contemporary crime literature suggests that categories such as guilt and innocence are problematic. In the crime novels by renowned British crime writer Minette Walters, the reader has to deal...

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