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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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Jacqui Miller

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Tom Ripley, the creation of Patricia Highsmith, is a sociopathic killer but also one of the most beguiling characters in modern literature. There are five Ripley novels, beginning with The Talented Mr Ripley (1955) and ending with Ripley Under Water (1991), during which time he ages only ten years or so. Three of the novels, The Talented Mr Ripley, Ripley Under Ground (1970) and Ripley’s Game (1974) have been filmed, twice in the case of The Talented Mr Ripley and Ripley’s Game. These “pairings” of The Talented Mr Ripley and Ripley’s Game are particularly interesting, especially when juxtaposed with their source novels. The first versions are essentially “European” while the later versions, irrespective of their director’s origin, cater more overtly for the American/English audience. The intention of this essay is to analyse the meaning of Europe as a symbol of cultural and class aspiration for Tom Ripley and, conversely, of America as a popular cultural icon for the novels’ and films’ European characters. I will argue that these meanings, underpinned by the motif of forgery and assumed identity, serve as a metaphor for American cultural, economic and political colonial imperialism beginning with the nineteenth-century leisure-class, gaining prominence following World War II, and continuing into the post-Soviet era.

In 1955, Highsmith’s 25-year-old Tom Ripley is living in New York, having run away from Boston and his clinging, but emotionally cruel Aunt Dottie, scratching a living on the edges of lower-upper-middle-class fashionable circles. Currently unemployed, but showing the...

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