Criminal Sensations: Neo-Victorian Detectives

  • Jessica CoxEmail author


In many respects, the detective novel represents sensation fiction’s most successful and enduring legacy, as well as its most persistent ongoing engagement with popular culture.

This chapter traces the detective descendants of the sensation novel from Sherlock Holmes through to contemporary neo-sensational detective fiction, examining the way in which the specific tenets of the sensation novel (including the domestic setting, the emphasis on family secrets, and the figure of the amateur detective) are redeployed in the detective genre. The ongoing tensions between literary and popular fiction are addressed here via an exploration of popular historical detective novels, including Emily Brightwell’s The Inspector and Mrs Jeffries (1993) and Tasha Alexander’s And Only to Deceive (2005), which, whilst distinct from what Linda Hutcheon terms ‘historiographic metaficton’, nonetheless represent a significant cultural engagement with the Victorian past, and specifically with the sensation novel.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Arts and HumanitiesBrunel UniversityLondonUK

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