Criminal Moves

BookCriminal Moves

Criminal Moves

Modes of Mobility in Crime Fiction

Liverpool English Texts and Studies, 78


November 26th, 2019

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Criminal Moves: Modes of Mobility in Crime Fiction offers a major intervention into contemporary theoretical debates about crime fiction. It seeks to overturn the following preconceptions: that the genre does not warrant critical analysis, that genre norms and conventions matter more than textual individuality, and that comparative perspectives are secondary to the study of the British-American canon. Criminal Moves challenges the distinction between literary and popular fiction and proposes that crime fiction be seen as constantly violating its own boundaries. Centred on three axes of mobility, the essays ask how can we imagine a mobile reading practice that realizes the genre’s full textual complexity, without being limited by the authoritative self-interpretations provided by crime narratives; how we can overcome restrictive notions of ‘genre’, ‘formula’ or ‘popular’; and how we can establish transnational perspectives that challenge the centrality of the British-American tradition and recognize that the global history of crime fiction is characterized, not by the existence of parallel national traditions, but rather by processes of appropriation and transculturation. Criminal Moves presents a comprehensive reinterpretation of the history of the genre that also has profound ramifications for how we read individual crime fiction texts.


'The three editors of this rich collective volume are driven by the ambitious desire to radically revise crime fiction studies, sweeping away existing prejudices and providing a new conceptual framework to the study of the genre... in a few years, this work will be acknowledged as a turning point in the history of crime scholarship.'
Stefano Serafini, Linguæ &

'Criminal Moves is an excellent resource for scholars who are reconsidering how they research and teach foundational texts in the crime fiction genre. It can also help readers identify ways to analyse and appreciate transnational works outside of the traditional British-American canon without confining them to a fixed taxonomy.'
Jennifer Schnabel, Crime Fiction Studies

'Criminal Moves is an exciting venture. [...] It asks provocative questions about the transparency of narrative. [...] It is the reader, as consumer and companion of the detective and author, who is at the core of the experience. Also, the issue of the reader’s gaze and attention are important considerations.'Fred Isaac, Clues

Author Information

Jesper Gulddal is Associate Professor in Literary Studies at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Alistair Rolls is Associate Professor of French Studies at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Stewart King is Senior Lecturer in Spanish and Catalan Studies at Monash University, Australia.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Criminal Moves: Towards a Theory of Crime Fiction Mobility13
Part I: Mobility of Meaning37
1. Behind the Locked Door: Leblanc, Leroux and the Anxieties of the Belle Époque39
2. Moving Fergus Hume’s The Mystery of a Hansom Cab and Breaking the Frame of Poe’s ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’57
3. Reading Affects in Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep72
4. Contradicting the Golden Age: Reading Agatha Christie in the Twenty-First Century89
Part II: Mobility of Genre105
5. Criminal Minds: Reassessing the Origins of the Psycho-Thriller107
6. Foggy Muddle : Narrative, Contingency and Genre Mobility in Dashiell Hammett’s The Dain Curse125
7. Burma’s Bagnoles: Urban Modernity and the Automotive Saccadism of Léo Malet’s Nouveaux mystères de Paris (1954–1959)141
8. Secrecy and Transparency in Hideo Yokoyama’s Six Four158
Part III: Transnational Mobility173
9. From Vidocq to the Locked Room: International Connections in Nineteenth-Century Crime Fiction175
10. Brain Attics and Mind Weapons: Investigative Spaces, Mobility and Transcultural Adaptations of Detective Fiction191
11. The Reader and World Crime Fiction: The (Private) Eye of the Beholder207