Australian Crime Fiction

A 200-Year History

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About the Book

Australian crime fiction grew from the country’s origins as an 18th–century English prison colony. Early stories focused on escaped convicts becoming heroic bush rangers, or how the system mistreated the wrongfully convicted. Later came thrillers about wealthy free settlers and lawless gold-seekers, and urban crime fiction, including Fergus Hume’s 1887 international best-seller The Mystery of a Hansom Cab, set in Melbourne.
The 1980s saw a surge of private-eye thrillers, popular in a society skeptical of police. Twenty-first century authors have focused on policemen—and increasingly on policewomen—and finally indigenous crime narratives. The author explores in detail this rich but little known national subgenre.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Knight is a well-known authority on crime fiction and literature through the ages. He has worked at universities in Australia, England and Wales and is a research professor in literature at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Bibliographic Details

Stephen Knight
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 311
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7086-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3266-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  ix
Introduction  1
Section 1: Earliest Stories to the First World War, 1818–1914
1.1. Beginnings: Convicts and Bushrangers 15
1.2. Settler and Squatter Crime Fiction 23
1.3. Goldfields Crime Stories 31
1.4. Remembering the Criminal Past 38
1.5. City Mysteries 50
1.6. Turn of the Century Crime Fiction 60
Section 2: Across and Between Two Wars, 1915–1945
2.1. Male Authors 68
2.2. Female Authors 83
2.3. Overseas and Touristic Crime Fiction 88
Section 3: Towards Independence, 1946–1979
3.1. The American ­Private-Eye Model 94
3.2. Other Male Authors 99
3.3. Female Authors 110
3.4. Other Voices 130
Section 4: Australia Stands Alone, 1980–1999
4.1. Private Investigators: Male 136
4.2. Private Investigators: Female 150
4.3. Police: Male 159
4.4. Police: Female 162
4.5. The Crime Novel 166
4.6. Amateur Detectives 170
4.7. Psychothrillers 178
4.8. Indigenous Crime Fiction 183
4.9. Historical Crime Fiction 189
4.10. Other Voices 195
Section 5: Patterns of the Present, 2000–2017
5.1. Private Investigators: Male 202
5.2. Private Investigators: Female 209
5.3. Police: Male 219
5.4. Police: Female 232
5.5. The Crime Novel 243
5.6. Amateur Detectives 246
5.7. Psychothrillers 253
5.8. Indigenous Crime Fiction 258
5.9. Historical Crime fiction 264
5.10. Other Voices 269
Bibliography (by Sections)  275
Index  291