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The Crime Fiction Handbook

Thursday, January 3, 2013 8:08 am EST

Crime fiction now accounts for around 25-30% of the fiction sold around the world, often making up at least half of the novels on best-seller lists. Whether it's the classic works of Arthur Conan Doyle or the contemporary writings of John Grisham, it seems that we just can't get enough murder and mystery. So just what is it that makes this dark, often bloody, world so compelling? Why do we "enjoy" such best-selling novels as The Silence of the Lambs which stars a gourmet cannibal! And why, over the past twenty years, has our taste for it grown? Magnifying glass and notebook in hand, Peter Messent sets off to investigate...

Searching for clues to explain the key components that make crime fiction so popular, The Crime Fiction Handbook gives the reader a comprehensive and accessible introduction to its origins, development and political and explores its cultural significance, focusing mainly on its American, British and Scandinavian forms. Along the way, by examining more closely the role played by a changing urban and political landscape, feelings about the body, and issues of race and gender, it reveals how, at its core, crime fiction is the genre that best speaks to our times, inner anxieties, and fears about the world in which we live.

Of course, like any good detective, Messent provides plenty of supporting evidence in the form of in-depth readings of fourteen of the most important works in the Western tradition, from the works of Edgar Allan Poe to Stieg Larsson with plenty more in between.

A must for anyone looking to probe more deeply into the crime fiction world...

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