Twentieth-Century Crime Fiction is an illuminating and challenging critical study of this ever popular genre. In the book Gill Plain uses contemporary theories of gender and sexuality to challenge the dominant perception of crime fiction as a conservative genre. The rise of lesbian detection and the impact of serial killing are considered alongside detailed analyses of works by popular writers such as Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Dick Francis and Sara Paretsky. Beginning with a radical reconceptualisation of genre categories, the book goes on to consider recent revisions and reappropriations of the form. The final section focuses on textual pleasure and the destabilising of genre boundaries, raising the timely question of whether the queering of crime fiction represents a revitalising paradigm shift or the conceptual collapse of the genre.* The first substantial critical work on twentieth-century crime from a gender perspective * Provides in-depth textual analysis often missing from studies of popular fiction * Reappraises the framework within which crime fiction might be studied and taught * Sets key 'canonical' crime writers alongside both radical innovators and best-selling populists of the genre
Acknowledgements; 1. IntroductionEstablishing Paradigms; 2. Sacrificial Bodies: The Corporeal Anxieties of Agatha Christie; 3. When Violet Eyes are Smiling: The Love Stories of Raymond Chandler; Part II - The 'Normal Science' of Detection; 4. Dividing the Men from the Boys: Joseph Hansen's Economy of the Same; 5. Wounded Masculinity and the Homosocial Bond: Fathers and Lovers in the Novels of Dick Francis; 6. V. I. Warshawski and the Little Red Shoes: Sara Paretsky's Feminist Fairy Tales; 7. Passing/Out: The Paradoxical Possibilities of Detective Delafield; Part III - Shifting Paradigms; 8. Out of Order: Lesbian Detection and Textual Pleasures; 9. Consuming the Boundaries of Crime: Serial Killing and the Taste for Violence; 10. Postscript: The Death of the Detective?; Bibliography.