The Detective and the Artist
Painters, Poets and Writers in Crime Fiction, 1840s–1970s
About the Book
This book focuses on the distinctive role that artists have played in detective fiction—as detectives, as villains and victims, and as bystanders. With a few significant exceptions, literary detectives have always identified themselves as essentially the deconstructors of the artful crimes of others. They may use various methods—ratiocinative, scientific, or hard-boiled—but they always unravel the threads that the villains have woven into deceptive covers for their crimes.
The detective does, in the end, produce a work of art: a narrative that explains everything that needs explanation. But the detective’s moral work is often juxtaposed to the aesthetic work of the painters, poets, and writers that the detective encounters during an investigation. The author surveys this juxtaposition in works by important authors from the early development of the genre (Poe, Conan Doyle), the golden age (Bentley, Christie, Sayers, James, et al.), and the hard-boiled era (Hammett, Chandler, Macdonald, Spicer et al.).
About the Author(s)
J.K. Van Dover
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
Table of Contents
Introduction: Art in the Blood 10
I. The Fine Arts of Murder 17
II. The Art of the Detective 32
III. Artistic Detectives: In the Beginning 44
IV. Art and the Classical Detective Story 69
V. The Classical Detective 76
VI. The Hard-Boiled Detective 130
Book Reviews & Awards
- “Van Dover easily connects various artists and detectives from different eras while juxtaposing particular cases with artists involved. This, actually, is one of the best features of the book, as recalling hundreds of novels and fictional characters/artists and acknowledging their unique roles is very impressive”—popcultureshelf.com.