The Gay Detective Novel

Lesbian and Gay Main Characters and Themes in Mystery Fiction


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About the Book

Gertrude Stein called it “the only really modern novel form that has come into existence,” yet the mystery genre was a century old before it featured its first gay main character in a novel. Since then, gay and lesbian detective fiction has been one of the fastest growing segments of the genre. It incorporates gay and lesbian cultural elements and offers crossover appeal. Its authors call upon a century of development in the mystery genre, while providing new, more accurate images of lesbians and gay men than generally found in mainstream literature and popular media.
This groundbreaking study of gay and lesbian detective fiction examines mystery series and historically significant stand-alone novels published since the early 1960s. Part I is an overview that describes how these novels make gay and lesbian life visible and forge new, powerful images. It also examines how they fit into the larger history of mystery fiction. The series analyses in Part II are grouped according to the type of main character (police officer, private investigator, amateur sleuth, etc.). Each section discusses main and secondary characters of that type, characteristic themes for the group, and more. The analyses of individual series cover main characters, themes, plot points and other elements. Comments from authors interviewed for this book play a central role in those analyses. Part III lists series-spanning themes (e.g., homophobia, the closet, gay marriage) and the novels and series that address each of those themes.

About the Author(s)

Judith A. Markowitz has run a Chicago consulting firm for forty years. She has published well over one hundred articles and book chapters, numerous technical reports, and six books.

Bibliographic Details

Judith A. Markowitz
Foreword by Katherine V. Forrest
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 312
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2004
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1957-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8277-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Foreword by Katherine V. Forrest      1

Preface      3

I. The Gay and Lesbian Crime-Fiction Scene      5

II. The Authors and Their Characters

      Police      26

      Private Investigators      66

      Professional Sleuths      111

      Amateur Sleuths      150

      Partners      195

III. Themes Across the Series      234

Notes      279

Bibliography      287

Index      289

Book Reviews & Awards

“excellent…outstanding…belongs in any literature reference collection”—ARBA; “one terrific book…fascinating”—Midwest Book Review; “a formidable amount of research…an astonishing range of material…welcome…intriguing”—Reviewing The Evidence; “It’s a groundbreaking study of gay and lesbian detective fiction…. Judith interviewed me for this book several years ago and I’ve been patiently wating for its publication…will undoubtedly become the reference source for libraries around the U.S.—and around the world”—Ellen Hart, Jane Lawless series; “For us now half-forgotten writers who fought the good fight when the battle counted for something…it is good to be remembered!—Joseph Hansen, Dave Brandstetter series; “Judith interviewed me for the book…. She’s a devoted fan of gay mystery fiction whose book is a solid current survey of the field”—Elizabeth Sims, Lillian Byrd series; “A well-written novel”—Lori L. Lake, Author of Have Gun Will Travel.