Previous reviews are at Mack Pitches Up

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Researching Mysteries

I am going to start a new feature on this blog where I will discuss the research I do in crime fiction. Research in this case means that I have been amassing a large number of journal articles, delicious book marks, Zotero database entries, blog posts, and library (mostly) books related to the study of crime fiction with the hope that I will one day read or at least organize them.

The recent discussions on rules for writing detective fiction and the need for critical review of crime fiction have inspired me to do something with the stuff I've collected. See Mysteries in Paradise, Overkill, Crime Always Pays.

If you look at my profile you will see that I work in an academic library where I'm the systems librarian. I'm responsible, among other things, for the care and feeding of the on-line catalog. So this is a personal interest and not a job-related, "I need to write something for my tenure portfolio" task. But librarians tend to be curious critters - which may partially explain the relationship between cats and librarians - and it has proven impossible for me not to be interested in the history and critical analysis of crime fiction.

My interest got a jump start when I was in our campus book store a while back and found a copy of Murder by the Book? Feminism and the Crime Novel by Sally R. Munt. I was staggered to see a critical examination of crime fiction shelved in with the popular stuff and picked it up before management decided it was a mistake and sent it back.

The book contains extensive chapter notes and a critical bibliography. I was curious if my library had any of the sources Munt cited and I found we have an excellent selection of materials related to our beloved crime fiction and its many sub- and sub-sub- genres.

So, when I feel my academic inclinations straining to surface, I am going to write a post on something I found in our stacks. I think I'll call these posts "From the Files:". The first should appear later this week.