The Art of Detective Fiction

  • Warren Chernaik
  • Martin Swales
  • Robert Vilain

About this book


In the hands of many of the great writers, the unravelling of mystery is only one strand within a complex project. Other things get unravelled, too - the belief in a rationally explicable world, in the beneficent, ordering force of culture and civilization. Constantly the detective story delights in muddying the waters, in acknowledging the omnipresent possibilities of anarchy and carnage. As a genre, it is supremely able to combine popular appeal with the ability to disturb, provoke and challenge the reader. The essays in this volume all pay tribute to, and seek to account for, the astonishing durability of the detective story as a narrative genre. They range generously, taking a variety of theoretical approaches and including detective fiction in languages other than English, but particular attention is paid to the 'Golden Age' of English detective story-writing and to the 'hard-boiled' American version of the genre. This is a collection that will appeal to the scholar and to the devotee alike; to all those, in fact, who cannot resist the lure of finding out whodunit.

Editors and affiliations

  • Warren Chernaik
    • 1
    • 2
  • Martin Swales
    • 3
  • Robert Vilain
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced StudiesUniversity of LondonUK
  2. 2.University of SouthamptonUK
  3. 3.University College LondonUK
  4. 4.Royal Holloway, University of LondonUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Palgrave History Collection
  • Print ISBN 978-1-349-62770-7
  • Online ISBN 978-1-349-62768-4
  • Buy this book on publisher's site