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Talking About Detective Fiction

Category: Book
By (author): James, P. D.
Subject:  FICTION / Mystery & Detective / General
  LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Composition & Creative Writing
  LITERARY CRITICISM / Mystery & Detective
Awards: Edgar Award (2010) Short-listed
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Published: October 2010
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 208
Size: 8.00in x 5.20in
Our Price:
$ 19.95
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*P. D. James examines the genre of detective fiction from top to bottom, beginning with the mystery plots at the hearts of such novels as Great Expectations and Jane Eyre, and bringing us firmly into the present with such writers as Amanda Cross and Henning Mankell. Along the way she writes about Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, and Josephine Tey, among many others. She traces the facts of their lives into and out of their work; clarifies their individual styles; and gives us indelible portraits of the characters they've created: from Sherlock Holmes, "the unchallenged Great Detective," to Sara Paretsky's spunky, sexually liberated female investigator, V. I. Warshawski. She compares British and American "Golden Age" mystery writing, including the groundbreaking work of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. She discusses detective fiction as social history; the stylistic components of the genre; her own process of writing; how critics have reacted over the years (Edmund Wilson hated it, W.H. Auden was "addicted"); and what she sees as a renewal of detective stories-and of the detective hero-in recent years. Here is the perfect marriage of writer and subject-essential reading for every lover of detective fiction.

From the Hardcover edition.
"She writes so wittily and with such authority that this lucid little book may well join the handful of classic essays on the genre."
- The Globe and Mail
"A task she is more than capable of handling. . . . Her writing shows a vast knowledge and abiding love for the genre she describes. . . . Talking About Detective Fiction is fascinating. It's as rich in characters and literary detail as the novels that have made James famous."
- USA Today
"It is P. D. James's longevity, as well as her serene intelligence, that makes this book especially noteworthy and enjoyable. . . . If you want to extend your own reading, discover new authors or clarify your thoughts, this is an excellent way to do so."
- The Independent
"Who better to ask about the reasons for the ever-increasing popularity of crime fiction than one of the genre's most revered practitioners? . . . James is as clear-eyed as her hero [Adam Dalgliesh]. . . . A pioneer among those mystery writers who make their readers see the world more clearly even as they try to pull the wool over their eyes."
- Telegraph
"A short book, but it has heft, and little wonder, given Lady James's literary mastery and deep familiarity with her subject. . . . Her literary sensibility-calm observation and exact description-is on ample display in Talking About Detective Fiction."
- Wall Street Journal

From the Hardcover edition.
Biographical NoteP. D. James is the author of 20 books, most of which have been filmed for television. Before her retirement in 1979, she served in the forensics and criminal justice departments of Great Britain's Home Office, and she has been a magistrate and a governor of the BBC. The recipient of many prizes and honors, including being inducted into the International Crime Writers Hall of Fame, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991. In 2000 she celebrated her 80th birthday.

From the Hardcover edition.