Mystery and detective novels are popular fictional genres within Western literature. As such, they provide a wealth of information about popular art and culture. When the genre develops within various cultures, it adopts, and proceeds to dominate, native expressions and imagery. American mystery and detective novels appeared in the late nineteenth century. This reference provides a selective guide to the important criticism of American mystery and detective novels and presents general features of the genre and its historical development over the past two centuries. Critical approaches covered in the volume include story as game, images, myth criticism, formalism and structuralism, psychonalysis, Marxism and more. Comparisons with related genres, such as gothic, suspense, gangster, and postmodern novels, illustrate similarities and differences important to the understanding of the unique components of mystery and detective fiction.
The guide is divided into five major sections: a brief history, related genres, criticism, authors, and reference. This organization accounts for the literary history and types of novels stemming from the mystery and detective genre. A chronology provides a helpful overview of the development and transformation of the genre.
Introduction Historical Outline Related Formulas Criticism and Theory Authors Reference Chronology Bibliography Author/Title Index
Reviews Landrum makes a welcome addition to existing scholarship on this subject....he adds quite a bit that is new and rewarding....An indispensible resource for anyone undertaking research or a serious study of detective fiction.—Choice
The information therein is valuable and accurate....Another point to note is that Landrum's author index includes the best known characters in classic detective stories, such names as Father Brown, Perry Mason, Lord Peter Wimsey and the like. He has worked hard to make this reference guide trustworthy and comprehensive, and he must be congratulated on it.—Reference Reviews