Special Feature: Cross-Cultural Crime Fiction

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.

Across_Cultures_thumb“Crime Across Cultures” issue of Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings (Volume 13 Number 1, 2013). We particularly recommend the articles published in this special issue of Moving Worlds, which take in crime and detective fiction from a wide range of national contexts:  “We ask how writers and cultural practitioners from around the world have diversified the crime writing genre, moving beyond the detective novel in order to experiment with a variety of media including short fiction, television, performance, visual art and graffiti.”

The following books and articles are also reviewed and highly recommended:

Peter Baker (ed), Detecting Detection: International Perspectives on the Uses of a Plot, Continuum, June 2012

Carolina Miranda, Barbara Pezzotti and Jean Anderson (eds), The Foreign in International Crime Writing: Transcultural Representations, Continuum, June 2012

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

Boris Dralyuk, Western Crime Fiction Goes East: The Russian Pinkerton Craze 1907–1934, Brill: Leiden and Boston, October 2012

Lucy Andrew & Catherine Phelps  (eds), Crime Fiction in the City: Capital Crime (European Crime Fictions), University of Wales Press, April 2013

John Cullen Gruesser, Race, Gender and Empire in American Detective Fiction, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, forthcoming Fall/Winter 2013

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 –

In recent decades crime fiction has enjoyed a creative boom. Although, as Alison Young argues in her book Imagining Crime (1996), crime stories remain strongly identified with specific locations, the genre has acquired a global reach, illuminating different corners of the world – from the downtown precincts of Baltimore to the South African peninsula to bleak Danish skies – for the delectation of international audiences. The recent fashion for nordic noir has highlighted the process by which the crime story may be franchised, as it is transposed from one culture to another. Crime fiction has thus become a vehicle for cultural exchange in the broadest of senses; not only does it move with apparent ease from one country to the next, and in and out of different languages, but it is also reproduced through various cultural media.