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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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Fiona Peters



Maybe Ripley is appealing because people like to imagine that somebody can get away with it all the time.

Patricia Highsmith, qtd. in Stewart.1

Tom Ripley and Dexter Morgan are arguably two of the most interesting fictional serial killers of our times. Tom appears in five of Patricia Highsmith’s novels, the character spanning forty years of her career. The Talented Mr Ripley (1955), Ripley Under Ground (1970), Ripley’s Game, (1974), The Boy Who Followed Ripley (1980) and Ripley Under Water (1991), all feature the charismatic yet pragmatic “hero.” While several films have been made out of the Ripley novels, most famously Anthony Minghella’s adaptation of The Talented Mr Ripley (1999), Tom remains very much a character who comes to life most successfully on the page. On the contrary Dexter, whose initial manifestation was in Jeff Lindsay’s novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter (2004), has since developed as a character through the cult Showtime television series (currently in its seventh season). The television series was originally based on Darkly Dreaming Dexter, but quickly veered away from the novels into separate storylines.

This paper will argue that a key reason why these characters continue to fascinate is because, as readers and viewers, we are captivated by the surface charm (not necessarily evident to all those around them but directed at us). Both Tom and Dexter are stable enough to be able to fake concern for others and related social responses – although these characters sometimes come dangerously...

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