Download PDF by Charles J. Rzepka: A companion to crime fiction

By Charles J. Rzepka

ISBN-10: 1405167653

ISBN-13: 9781405167659

A Companion to Crime Fiction offers the definitive consultant to this well known style from its origins within the eighteenth century to the current day

  • A selection of forty-seven newly commissioned essays from a staff of top students around the globe make this Companion the definitive consultant to crime fiction
  • Follows the improvement of the style from its origins within the eighteenth century via to its extraordinary brand new popularity
  • Features  full-length severe essays at the most vital authors and film-makers, from Arthur Conan Doyle and Dashiell Hammett to Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese exploring the ways that they've got formed and prompted the field
  • Includes broad references to the main up to date scholarship, and a accomplished bibliography

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Among Doyle’s numerous imitators – varying the formula and establishing different character types for the figure of the detective – there are several who in their own ways disrupt the neat pattern of death-detection-resolution, bringing to the fore the divergent possibilities contained within the genre. In Arthur Morrison’s Dorrington Deed-box (1897), the protagonist is a “private inquiry agent” who has done some legitimate enough investigations but who is not averse to thieving, defrauding, and even murder.

In The Mysteries of Udolpho (1980 [1794]), the trappings of the supernatural and the usual Gothic tropes of secrets, hidden passages and decaying castles turn out to be the cover for a gang of smugglers. Charles Rzepka has argued that Radcliffe’s heroines can be read as amateur proto-detectives (Rzepka 2005), but it is with William Godwin’s quasi-Gothic novel, Caleb Williams; or, Things as They Are (1794) that a narrative retrospectively recognizable as crime fiction, and even featuring a detective figure, first appears (see Shaw, chapter 28 in this volume).

Such official detective work as took place was carried out by the Bow Street Runners, a small quasi-police force organized in 1749 by Henry Fielding, then the incumbent at London’s Bow Street Magistrate’s Court. Initially consisting of only seven men and only partially state-funded, over the eighteenth century the Runners had expanded and developed into a reasonably effective detecting agency and until 1839, when the Runners were disbanded, the two policing bodies worked in parallel: Oliver Twist features the (incompetent) Runners Blathers and Duff but also refers to policemen and officers of the law.

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A companion to crime fiction by Charles J. Rzepka

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