Clues from the Couch

Psychology in Detective Fiction from Wilkie Collins to Winspear and Penny

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About the Book

The detective story—the classic whodunit with its time-displacement structure of crime—according to most literary historians, is of relatively recent origin. Early in its development, the whodunit was harshly criticized for its tightly formula-bound structure. Many critics prematurely proclaimed “the death of the whodunit” and even of detective fiction altogether. Yet today, the whodunit is alive as contemporary authors have brought it into modern times through a significant integration of elaborate character development and psychology. With the modern psychological detective story emerging from the historical cauldron of detective fiction and early psychology, the genre continues to develop a complexity that reflects, illustrates and guides the literary sophistication needed in today’s world. This book, the first of its kind, analyzes over 150 whodunit novels and short stories across the decades, from The Moonstone to the contemporary novels that saved the whodunit from an ignominious death

About the Author(s)

Laird R. Blackwell is a humanities professor emeritus at Sierra Nevada College in the Lake Tahoe area of western Nevada, where he taught psychology and literature for 31 years. He is the author of four critical studies of detective fiction for McFarland and recipient of nominations for an Edgar Award and an Agatha Award.

Bibliographic Details

Laird R. Blackwell
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8837-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4670-1
Imprint: McFarland