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commissaire inspector dottore

academic and personal thoughts on detective-inspector novels


bibliography of secondary criticism

Amato, Carmen. "The Correlation between Crime Rates and Creativity." Murder Lab, 19 September 2013.

Several well-known crime series, including those of Jo Nesbø and Henning Mankell, are set in locales with extremely low real-life crime rates.

Bayard, Pierre. L'affaire du chien des Baskerville. 2008. Paris: Minuit, 2010.

This sequel to Qui a tué Roger Ackroyd? takes on Arthur Conan Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles, and in the words of its English translation, shows that "Sherlock Holmes was wrong."

Bayard, Pierre. Qui a tué Roger Ackroyd? 1998. Paris: Minuit, 2008.

Can we really accept Hercule Poirot's solution in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie? The whole situation is far-fetched, and Poirot at times seems delirious: but no more so than psychoanalysts or literary interpreters. At the heart of Bayard's method is the suspicion that fictional detectives inevitably veer from the correct solution, pulled by stronger concerns than mere legalistic justice.

Bell, David F. "Reading Corpses: Interpretive Violence." SubStance 86 (1998): 92-105.

What are readers to make of the gruesome murder scenes in early crime fiction, including Edgar Allan Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue" but especially Émile Gaboriau's L'affaire Lerouge? Symbolic violence disrupts bourgeois interiors; ultimately "the story told by the detective does violence" (102).

Bergman, Kerstin. "The Well-Adjusted Cops of the New Millennium: Neo-Romantic Tendencies in the Swedish Police Procedural." In Andrew Nestingen and Paula Arvas, eds., Scandinavian Crime Fiction. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2011. 34-45.

The 20th-century tradition of social commentary in crime fiction, exemplified by Sjöwall & Wahlöö and continued by Henning Mankell, has given way in the 21st century to more self-contained bourgeois fictions like those of Mari Jungstedt.

Bonniot, Roger. Émile Gaboriau ou La naissance du roman policier. Paris: J. Vrin, 1985.

The definitive study of Gaboriau – biography, critical assessment, life records and chronology, reception history, influences on Gaboriau and his influence on others.

Chandler, Raymond. "The Simple Art of Murder." 1950.

Chandler's advocacy for realistic hard-boiled crime fiction, with his famous formulation "down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid."

Davis, J. Madison. "He Do the Police in Different Voices: The Rise of the Police Procedural." World Literature Today 86.1 (Jan/Feb 2012): 9-11.

A general overview.

Furu, Patrick. "Culturally contingent leadership behavior: an analysis of leadership as characterized by Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano." Leadership 8.3 (2012): 303-324.

Analyzes representations of leadership in the Montalbano series, including "key organizational activities, cultural context, the source of leader influence and the leader-follower relationship."

Ghitescu, Georgiana. "Simenon et les points faibles de son intrigue policière." Pro Patria Lex 10.1 (2012): 338-342.

Simenon's early crime novels play fast and loose with real-life police procedure and often cast Maigret almost in the role of an informal private eye.

Ely, Peter B., S.J. "Detective and Priest: The Paradoxes of Simenon's Maigret." Christianity and Literature 59:3 (Spring 2010): 435-477.

Unlike Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot, Maigret investigates crime via empathy instead of logic; though "thoroughly secular," "he manifests a profoundly Christian, even priestly character in his approach to solving crimes.

Goldstone, Andrew. "Kurt Wallander and the Case of the Text-Encoding Gremlins." Arcade, 3 August 2016.

Hasty, sloppy encoding in translations of Henning Mankell's novels shows the still-low genre status of international crime fiction, despite its popularity.

Goulet, Andrea. Legacies of the Rue Morgue: Science, space, and crime fiction in France. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016.

Geographies – mostly of Paris, both surface and subterranean – in French crime fiction from Poe to the present day.

Katrín Jakobsdóttir. "Meaningless Icelanders: Icelandic Crime Fiction and Nationality." In Andrew Nestingen and Paula Arvas, eds., Scandinavian Crime Fiction. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2011. 46-61. [European Crime Fictions]

National identity as a key theme in the work of Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson and Ævar Örn Jósepsson.

Kolsky, Stephen. "Camilleri's La forma dell'acqua: Rewriting the Sicilian Detective Novel." Forum Italicum 43 (2009): 139-154.

Under the influence of Leonardo Sciascia, Camilleri examines the tensions created when crimes of passion in Sicilian families intersect with the politicized crimes of the mafia.

McCorristine, Shane. "The Place of Pessimism in Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander Series." In Andrew Nestingen and Paula Arvas, eds., Scandinavian Crime Fiction. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2011. 77-88. [European Crime Fictions]

Mankell's anti-xenophobic project in the Wallander series is worked out via great pessimism about the sustainability of a liberal, socially tolerant Swedish future. His detective opens the series with received notions about the Other and takes several novels to mature into a global citizen.

Macleod, Alex. "The Contemporary Fictional Police Detective as Critical Security Analyst: Insecurity and immigration in the novels of Henning Mankell and Andrea Camilleri." Security Dialogue 45.6 (2014): 515-529.

The contemporary fictional police inspector can be read not as a mere defender of the status quo, but as a "critic of prevailing security practices." Draws its examples from Mankell's Faceless Killers and Camilleri's Rounding the Mark.

Nestingen, Andrew. "Unnecessary Officers: Realism, Melodrama, and Scandinavian Crime Fiction in Transition." In Andrew Nestingen and Paula Arvas, eds., Scandinavian Crime Fiction. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2011. 171-183. [European Crime Fictions]

From the realism of Sjöwall and Wahlöö (itself incipiently tinged with melodramatic elements) through the mixed thematics of Henning Mankell's Wallander to the "entrepreneurial investigators" of Liza Marklund and Stieg Larsson, a trend in Scandinavian fiction leads from bureaucratic procedure to maverick heroism.

Paternoster, Annick. "Inappropriate Inspectors: Impoliteness and overpoliteness in Ian Rankin's and Andrea Camilleri's crime series." Language and Literature 21.3 (2012): 311-324.

"Metapragmatic comments of impoliteness and over-politeness" in dialogue by two police inspectors who never seem to hit the right chord in a conversation.

Rushing, Robert A. Resisting Arrest: Detective fiction and popular culture. New York: Other Press, 2007.

Neo-Lacanian approach to the pleasures and frustrations of reading detective series fiction: a genre that promises solutions and closure, but inevitably leaves the reader wanting more.

Scaggs, John. Crime Fiction. London: Routledge, 2005. [The New Critical Idiom]

Overview of the various genres (classic deduction, hard-boiled, procedural, thrillers, historicals) that have made up crime fiction since its inception in the 19th century.

Sienkiewicz-Charlish, Agnieszka. "Tartan Noir: Crime, Scotland, and Genre in Ian Rankin's Rebus Novels." In Urszula Elias and Agnieszka Sienkiewicz-Charlish, eds., Crime Scenes: Modern Crime Fiction in an International Context. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2014. 65-80. [Gdansk Transatlantic Studies in British and North American Culture, Volume 6]

Ian Rankin's Rebus series has roots in American hard-boiled and police-procedural genres, with a touch of Gothic and some "state-of-Scotland" social analysis.

Stougaard-Nielsen, Jakob. Scandinavian Crime Fiction. London: Bloomsbury, 2017. [21st Century Genre Fiction]

An overview of the field from mid-20th-century writers like Anders Bodelsen and Sjöwall and Wahlöö to Liza Marklund, Camilla Läckberg, and contemporary TV; gives special attention to Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson.

Tapper, Michael. "Dirty Harry in the Swedish Welfare State." In Andrew Nestingen and Paula Arvas, eds., Scandinavian Crime Fiction. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2011. 21-33. [European Crime Fictions]

The character of Gunvald Larsson in the Martin Beck series by Sjöwall and Wahlöö and subsequent films, seen from a socio-historical perspective.

Tapper, Michael. Swedish Cops: From Sjöwall and Wahlöö to Stieg Larsson. Bristol & Chicago: Intellect, 2014.

Brief history of crime fiction generally, followed by a comprehensive history of Swedish police procedurals; works equally well as a critical study, a text-by-text handbook, and a bibliography.

Todorov, Tzvetan. "The Typology of Detective Fiction." Translated by Richard Howard. In The Poetics of Prose (Oxford: Blackwell, 1977). 42-52.

Important theoretical framework for the study of crime fiction, with the well-known principle "At the basis of the whodunit we find a duality … not one but two stories: the story of the crime and the story of the investigation."

Van Dine, S.S. "Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories." American Magazine, 1928.

Including #7: "There simply must be a corpse in a detective novel, and the deader the corpse the better."

Vareille, Jean-Claude. "Émile Gaboriau ou l'insoutenable légèreté des signes." In Jean-Marie Graitson, ed., Agatha Christie et le roman policier d'enigme. Liège: CÉFAL, 1994. 21-35. [Les Cahiers des Para-littératures, 6]

Detection, in Gaboriau's novels, is a matter of reading and reinscribing signs. But paradoxically, for a positivist project like the detection of crime, these signs always seem to point in multiple contradictory directions. Gaboriau thus anticipates modernists from Freud to Derrida.

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