Funny Thing About Murder

Modes of Humor in Crime Fiction and Films

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About the Book

Focusing on crime fiction and films that artfully combine comedy and misdeed, this book explores the reasons writers and filmmakers inject humor into their work and identifies the various comic techniques they use. The author covers both American and European books from the 1930s to the present, by such authors as Rex Stout, Raymond Chandler, Robert B. Parker, Elmore Leonard, Donald E. Westlake, Sue Grafton, Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich, along with films from The Thin Man to the BBC’s Sherlock series.

About the Author(s)

David Geherin, a professor emeritus of English at Eastern Michigan University, is the author of eight books on crime fiction, two of which were finalists for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Allan Poe Award. He lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Bibliographic Details

David Geherin
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 217
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6911-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2978-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface  1
Introduction  3
Part I: Crime Fiction  21
Rex Stout (1886–1975) 21
Jonathan Latimer (1906–1983) 25
Raymond Chandler (1888–1959) 28
Craig Rice (1908–1957) 32
Norbert Davis (1909–1949) 36
Edmund Crispin (1921–1978) 39
Ed McBain (1926–2005) 43
Donald E. Westlake (1933–2008) 47
Joseph Wambaugh (1937–) 53
Robert B. Parker (1932–2010) 57
Elmore Leonard (1925–2013) 61
William Marshall (1944–) 67
Simon Brett (1945–) 70
Lawrence Block (1938–) 74
Martha Grimes (1931–) 78
Sue Grafton (1940–) 82
Kinky Friedman (1944–) 86
Carl Hiaasen (1953–) 90
Joan Hess (1949–) 95
Janet Evanovich (1943–) 98
Andrea Camilleri (1925–) 102
Colin Bateman (1962–) 106
Fred Vargas (1957–) 111
Ken Bruen (1951–) 115
Alexander McCall Smith (1948–) 120
Ben Rehder (1965–) 125
Christopher Fowler (1953–) 129
Craig Johnson (1961–) 133
Lisa Lutz (1970–) 137
Timothy Hallinan (1949–) 141
Part II: Crime Films  147
Killers, Crooks, Kidnappers 147
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) 147
Too Many Crooks (1959) 148
Take the Money and Run (1969) 149
Raising Arizona (1987) 150
A Fish Called Wanda (1988) 152
Miami Blues (1990) 153
Pulp Fiction (1994) 154
Get Shorty (1995) 156
Jackie Brown (1997) 158
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking
Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000) 159
Bandits (2001) 160
In Bruges (2008) 161
Heist/Caper Films 163
The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) 164
The Ladykillers (1956) 165
Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958) 166
Topkapi (1964) 167
How to Steal a Million (1966) 168
The Italian Job (1969 and 2003) 169
The Sting (1973) 171
Bottle Rocket (1996) 172
Fargo (1996) 173
Ocean’s Eleven (2001) 174
Cops 175
A Shot in the Dark (1964) 176
Beverly Hills Cop (1984) 177
The Guard (2011) 178
Detectives, Amateur and Private 179
The Thin Man (1934) 179
Murder by Death (1976) and
The Cheap Detective (1978) 180
Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982) 181
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) 182
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) 183
Sherlock (BBC, 2010–) 184
Bibliography  189
Index  199