We’re entering a season of retro pulp nostalgia here at Crimeculture. Our three new series featuring crime writers, reviewers, critics and publishers will launch soon. If you’d like to take part, please drop us a line.
My Misspent Youth
A series of short reminiscences from crime writers based around a memento from their childhood – a favourite novel, photograph, poster, toy, baseball card and so on – that is connected to their writing life. Our featured writers will be talking about the memories associated with their memento, about how they first came to be a writer and about their current projects.
In this series, we’ll feature contributors’ favourite crime novel covers and their explanation of why it’s their favourite. If you would like to contribute a cover, please send us the name (and an image, if available) of your favourite pulp cover along with 150 words or so describing what it is you love about it.
Crimeculture contributors discuss their favourite bad girls, femmes fatales, female villains and noir heroines drawn from the annals of crime fiction, film, comics, graphic novels and true crime… If you are interested in contributing, send us the name (and an image, if available) of your favourite bad girl along with 300 words or so about her.
Summer 2014 offers some great conferences, festivals and crime-related events. There are, of course, two excellent annual events scheduled in Bristol and Harrogate, the Crimefest convention and the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. In addition Crimeculture particularly recommends the Manchester ‘True Crime’ Conference (Call for Papers deadline 18th April), an inventive ‘Crime Story’ weekend in Newcastle, and, in Ohio, the Crime Studies Network’s ‘Evil Incarnate’ conference.
David Schmid is the keynote speaker at this fascinating interdisciplinary conference which will explore the genre in its myriad incarnations. The Call for Papers is still open: please submit proposals by 18th April 2014.
Now established as one of the best annual crime events, the international crime fiction convention, Crimefest, has a Programme that includes panels on locked rooms, women as victims, the modern thriller, the paranormal, political thrillers, the hired gun, Euro noir, psychotherapists and psychiatrists, plus interviews with Nicci French, Lars Kepler, Yrsa Sigurdardottir – and much else.
Spend a weekend getting under the skin of a fictional crime with top crime writers, criminologists, lawyers, police and forensics experts. See also the link on this page to the Northern Crime Competition.
The Crime Studies Network is a group devoted to the interdisciplinary study of representations of crime. In 2014, it is holding its first conference outside the UK. With keynote speakers from the disciplines of Religious Studies, Justice Administration and Film Studies, the conference asks what defines villainy and how villains are represented.
“For one long, sultry, summer weekend the temperature in Harrogate rises whatever the weather as the world’s hottest celebration of crime writing swings into town.” This year’s festival has a stellar line-up, including Ann Cleeves, Robert Galbraith, Sophie Hannah, John Harvey, Lynda LaPlante, Laura Lippman, Peter May, Val McDermid, Denise Mina and S. J. Watson.
Increasing numbers of contemporary books, articles and conference papers have been devoted to analysing crime and detective fiction within a wide variety of cross-cultural contexts. Critics focus on the diversity of the genre and on the manifold ways in which generic tropes are being transformed as they take on different cultural and national identities. Studies such as these shed light on one of the main reasons for the genre’s durability: as Kate Horsley writes in “Contemporary African Crime Fiction”, “Detective fiction has remained a resilient and versatile genre because of its capacity to raise difficult questions about corruption and moral failure. It represents the investigation of individual crimes but can also work to expose the failures, traumas and brutalities of political and social life.”
This Autumn Crimeculture is featuring some of the best of the 2012-13 publications on cross-culture crime and detective fiction. The following books and articles are reviewed and highly recommended:
Berit Åström, Katarina Gregersdotter and Tanya Horeck (eds), Rape in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy and Beyond: Contemporary Scandinavian and Anglophone Crime Fiction, Palgrave Macmillan, October 2012
We also want to recommend the forthcoming Leeds conference – 17th-18th September 2013, Retold, Resold, Transformed: Crime Fiction in the Modern Era, an Arts Faculty-wide event organised in co-operation with the Crime Studies Network.
‘The Problem of the Overtired Undergrad’, Ari Scott-Zechlin
‘Iustitia’, Tara Coffin
‘A Study in Iron’, Thomas Pinder
‘Nuremberg’, Ros Ballinger
‘Golden Blaze’, Rhys Barter
‘The Undead Detective’, Rhys Barter
‘Paul Wallace’, Sarah Borroum
‘Desert Island Dicks’, Paul Chiswick
‘One-Way Sherlock’, Dennis Mombauer
‘Dear Mr Spade’, Charles Rzepka
‘Ideal Holmes’, Alex Watts
The Sherlock Holmes Flash-Fiction Competition received over a hundred entries. We greatly enjoyed reading all of the stories submitted. Our judge, Sean Cregan, writes:
There are some good ones there! I had a hard time picking between ‘Iustitia’, ‘A Study In Iron’, and ‘The Problem Of The Overtired Undergrad’. I’m going to say ‘Undergrad’ just about takes it though.
It was very, very tight, but ‘Undergrad’ just edged it for me on the style and quality of the writing – there’s a couple of lovely turns of phrase in there. The conceptual switch is a nice one too, like a modern (and more grown-up) update of ‘Young Sherlock’ minus the ambulatory cream cakes, told from an outside point of view (and you can’t go wrong with a sly Mrs Hudson reference). Very tight field, very hard to pick, but this one shaded it.
The Competition: Our Sherlock Holmes Flash Fiction Competition was part of an AudioGo promotion. We asked that stories be no longer than 400 words and that they should feature Holmes in another time and place or in a different genre, e.g. gothic, hardboiled, cyberpunk or sci-fi. The Crimeculture editorial team shortlisted a group of stories and Sean Cregan, author of explosive and brilliant cyberpunk novels The Levels and The Razor Gate, judged the overall winner and the runners-up. The shortlisted and winning writers will have their work published on the Crimeculture website during July. The winning writer will be interviewed, published on Crimeculture and presented with a set of BBC Sherlock Holmes audiobook CDs; our two runners-up will also receive AudioGo prizes.
In May – July, Crimeculture is featuring Sherlock Holmes and classic detective fiction. See our front page links to some of our past articles on detective fiction, and our new contributions: Aysegul Kesirli’s “Reading House M.D. as a Detective Drama,” which considers Gregory House in comparison to Holmes and to hard-boiled detectives; and Ashleigh Prosser’s ‘’The Genius Detective’ in classical detective fiction,” which discusses Poe’s Three Tales of Ratiocination and Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet.