The Place It Was Done

Location and Community in Contemporary American and British Crime Fiction

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About the Book

Locations play an important role in every story, but in British and American contemporary crime fiction, they are often inextricable from the narrative. This work examines the city, the countryside and the wilderness as places ripe with literary significance and symbolism.
Using works by authors like Robert Galbraith, Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, Chris Brookmyre, John Knox, Peter Robinson, Linda Barnes, Dana Stabenow, Nevada Barr, Les Roberts, Philip R. Craig, and others, this work offers a fresh assessment of how place and space are employed in contemporary crime fiction. Highlighted are similarities and differences among the authors’ approaches to setting, and how they relate to the history of crime fiction and to the general literary representation of place. Going beyond mere literary geography, the book engages the sociocultural dimensions of the communities affected by crime. Chapters also analyze the reader’s perception, recognition and appreciation of place and community.

About the Author(s)

Šárka Bubíková is an associate professor of American literature at the University of Pardubice, Czech Republic. The author of two books and a co-author of two edited volumes, she also writes fiction.

Olga Roebuck is an assistant professor at the University of Pardubice, Czech Republic. She specializes in cultural identities in contemporary Scottish fiction and crime fiction.

Bibliographic Details

Šárka Bubíková and Olga Roebuck
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 193
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8777-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4905-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 3
Chapter One—The City 9
1.1. The Changing Role of the Urban Setting  9
1.1.1. Robert Galbraith’s London  12
1.1.2. Ian Rankin’s and Christopher Brookmyre’s Edinburgh  17
1.1.3. Denise Mina’s Glasgow  22
1.1.4. Joseph Knox’s Manchester  27
1.2. City as a Repository of Memories  30
1.3. Following and Mobility  36
1.4. American Urban Setting: City Domesticated  44
1.4.1. Sara Paretsky’s Chicago  46
1.4.2. Linda Barnes’s Boston  48
1.4.3. Les Roberts’s Cleveland  53
1.4.4. Laura Lippman’s Baltimore  59
1.5. City as a Temporal Entity: Memory and Urban Change  62
1.6. Walks, Drives and Surveillance  70
Chapter Two—The Country 74
2.1. British Idyllic Countryside Questioned  74
2.2. The Idyllic Countryside of the Amish Farmland  91
2.3. Ambiguous Countryside: Martha’s Vineyard  104
Chapter Three—The Wilderness 110
3.1. Wilderness as Literary Environment  110
3.1.1. The Southwest  118
3.1.2. Alaska  131
3.2. Outsiders in Wilderness: Tourists and Pets  136
3.3. Wilderness as a Literary Topos  139
3.4. Wilderness as Metaphysical and Mythological Landscapes  147
Chapter Notes 163
Works Cited 177
Index 183

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “…a complex, thorough, and insightful research asserting that traditional setting remains an important site of crime.”—Alena Smieskova, associate professor of English and American Studies, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia
  • “An impressive, complex approach to the role of place and community in crime fiction.”—Dr. Elżbieta Perkowska-Gawlik, assistant professor, department of English and American Studies, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin (Poland)
  • “An immensely readable, informative book… an inspiring read… a great resource not only for literary scholars, but also for students who wish to acquire a deeper understanding of the crime fiction genre.”—Skase Journal of Literary and Cultural Studies