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Profiling the American Detective

Parker’s Prose on the Coded Game of Sleuth and Rogue and the Tradition of the Crime Story

Georg Schmid

Firmly anchored in literary and psychoanalytic theory, yet also combining an ironically essayistic style with scholarly profundity, this book reinserts the «mystery genre» in its framework of Western history and tradition. Exemplifying the arguments by systematic references to the «American Detective» par excellence, Robert B. Parker’s Spenser, vistas are opened up to a remarkable œuvre, while, at the same time, a whole popular genre is reevaluated. In addition, major Western ideals and notions are discussed which are arguably more clearly discernable in detective fiction than anywhere else, yet reach far beyond a mere genre and are of general relevance. The analysis of the delicacy and eminently entertaining qualities of detective fiction is nicely balanced with reflections on what literature means to us existentially.
Contents: The American detective since Chandler and Hammett – Themes, players, motives and morality in Robert B. Parker’s novelistic universe – The novel as dramatic art – «Literaturescape»: The dialectics of realism and the ideal.