Murdering Miss Marple

Essays on Gender and Sexuality in the New Golden Age of Women’s Crime Fiction

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About the Book

During the interwar “golden age” of British detective fiction, women writers like Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie reigned, but their work remains tame compared to today’s crime novels. Elements of sexuality and gender, including soft porn and sexual psychopathy, pervade contemporary detective fiction. The 10 essays in this collection explore issues of gender and sexuality in crime writing by women from 1985 to 2011, surveying works about girl sleuths, parodies, hard-boiled detective fiction, police procedurals, and recent serial killer series. They examine the relationship between genre and gender and explore how later works enter into a field of “post-feminism.” Most importantly, this volume demonstrates how popular women writers of the last three decades have reconceptualized what it means to be a female detective.

About the Author(s)

Julie H. Kim is a professor of English and Women’s Studies at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. She teaches and publishes in early modern British and contemporary British and American literatures.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Julie H. Kim
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6331-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9003-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction: Re-Imagining Gender and Sexuality in Women’s Crime Fiction

JULIE H. KIM      1

Nancy Drew vs. Nancy Clue: Girl Sleuths Discover Their Sexualities

1. Configuring Space and Sexuality: Nancy Drew Enters The Bluebeard Room

MICHAEL G. CORNELIUS      13

2. Not-So-Nice, Indeed: Mabel Maney, Girl Detectives, and Sexual Awakenings

JENNIFER MITCHELL      36

Long Ago, in Places Far Away: Gender Subversion in Detective Fiction Period Pieces

3. Repopulating the Margins: Rhys Bowen’s Treatment of Gender, History, and Power

KELLEY WEZNER      61

4. Assuming Identities: Strategies of Drag in Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell Series

MEGAN HOFFMAN      81

Genre vs. Gender, Sexuality, Race, and Class

5. Genre-Bending in Neely’s Blanche White Series: Testing the Limits of Crime Fiction

BETSY YOUNG      101

6. “W” Is for Woman: Deconstructing the Private Dick in Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Series

HEATH A. DIEHL       120

Language and Gender, Narrative and Sexuality: Rhetorics of Identity and Desire

7. Melancholia, Narrative Objectivity and the Eyewitness: The Role of the Narrator in Barbara Vine’s A Dark-Adapted Eye and The Minotaur

ANDREW HOCK SOON NG      143

8. Postfeminism(s) and Authority in Contemporary Glasgow Police Procedurals

PETER CLANDFIELD      167

(De)constructed Body and Sexual Psychopathy: Serial Killing of Gender Binaries

9. Beyond Gender and Sexuality: The Serial Killers of Val McDermid

NEIL MCCAW      191

10. Neither Victim nor Vixen: Reading the Female Detective’s Receding Body and Textual Violence

WINTER S. ELLIOTT      211

About the Contributors      231

Index      233