By Charles J. Rzepka
A Companion to Crime Fiction provides 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 crew of prime students around the globe make this Companion the definitive advisor to crime fiction
- Follows the improvement of the style from its origins within the eighteenth century via to its exceptional modern-day popularity
- Features full-length serious 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 motivated the field
- Includes vast references to the main updated scholarship, and a finished bibliography
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Extra resources for A companion to crime fiction
The narrative patterns in Mary Young’s Account are typical of tales in The Newgate Calendar. The confession, explicit or implicit, in the criminal’s story served to validate the death sentence and demonstrate the efficiency of the penal system, reassuring the reader that crime could and would be contained and deterring the potential criminal with the apparent certainty of punishment. indd 14 12/14/2009 4:48:39 PM From The Newgate Calendar to Sherlock Holmes 15 to the public. In reality, many of the Accounts and the stories in The Newgate Calendar are prosaic reports of theft or other common crimes punishable by death in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
The first three chapters of the Blackwell Companion to Crime Fiction all open with references to Sherlock Holmes – to the character and intellectual predispositions of Doyle’s iconic protagonist and to the structure and function of his narratives. indd 28 12/14/2009 4:48:42 PM From Sherlock Holmes to the Present 29 examples of the genre, and by exploring narratives “retrospectively recognizable” (Worthington, chapter 1) as having affinities with a popular genre that we are still in the process of defining.
Similarly, while there were regular police reports in the newspapers, the appearance of the official police in fiction, as in Oliver Twist, was limited. From the public’s perspective, the police were recruited from the lower classes in order to police their peers; crime was associated with poverty and seen as a direct threat to the propertied middle and upper classes. The hero-criminals in Newgate fiction either were or were proved to be of a higher class (Eugene Aram, Paul Clifford, Oliver Twist), or had natural nobility (Rookwood and Jack Sheppard), and in this context the ordinary police officer seemed unlikely material for the hero of a novel.
A companion to crime fiction by Charles J. Rzepka