Friday, October 12, 2012

In memory of UTEP English Department Detective Fiction Class -- Fall of 2004!

John Young takes a look at shifts in  Detective Fiction, contrasting then with now!

"When Life Is No Laughing Matter"

Snippets from his original in The Wanderer Catholic  newspaper,  Thursday, October  11, 2012.

 A "shift has occured in books, including detective fiction.

"The older detectives were not much troubled  by personal problems.

"Is Sherlock Holmes an exception?

"He had his drug problems and his fits of depression when London's criminals were quiet.

"But somehow the stories had a light touch; Holmes personal problems didn't inrude.

"Rex Stout's character Nero Wolfe could have been depicted in a very depressing way, with his laziness, his argumentativeness, his obsessions, his uneasiness with women.  

"But Stout treats  Wolfe with a light touch, and the reader is left amused.

"By contrast, Patricia Cornwell's character Kay Scarpeta and her associates are an unhappy lot, between them manifesting psychological  problems, sexual relationships -- including one - night stands and lesbianism -- and alcoholism.

"The first Scarpetta novel, Postmortem, was published in 1990.

"Of course there is much that is dark and pessimistic in earlier fiction; but I think the shift we find today is a reflection of an increased unhappiness in society.

"We live in a time of escalating violence and it is often a random violence ...."

And he develops his thesis from there! :)


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