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The Perfect Murder: A Study in Detection

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The Perfect Murder: A Study in Detection Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this lively, enjoyable look at the best American and British detective fiction, David Lehman investigates the mystery of mysteries: the profound satisfactions we get from evil, disorder, mayhem, and deception--that we know will be put right by the last page.

As Lehman shows, the detective story draws deeply from ancient storytelling traditions. The mystery's conventions--the locked room, the clue "hidden" in plain sight, the diabolical double, the villainous least likely subject--work on us as childhood fairy tales do; they prey upon our darkest fears, taking us to the brink of the unbearable before restoring a comforting sense of order. The myth of Oedipus, for example, contains the essential elements of a whodunit, with the twist that the murderer the detective pursues is himself.

With their wisecracking gumshoe heroes, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler fashioned an existential romance out of the detective novel. More recent writers such as Ross MacDonald, P. D. James, and Ruth Rendell have raised the genre to a new level of psychological sophistication. Yet the form evolves still, and Lehman guides us to the epistemological riddles of Jorge Luis Borges and Umberto Eco, who challenge the notion of a knowable truth. Originally published in 1989, this new edition features an additional chapter on the mystery novels of the 1990s.

"A lively study of the development and varieties of the detective story since Poe, its relations with other forms high and low, and the latter-day appropriation of its techniques by such writers as Borges and Eco. . . . A thoroughly intelligent and readable book." --Richard Wilbur, Pulitzer-Prize winning poet

David Lehman is the series editor of both the The Best American Poetry, published by Scribner, and the Poets on Poetry series published by the University of Michigan Press. He is a former Guggenheim Fellow in poetry, a vice president of the National Book Critics Circle, and the author of several books of criticism and collections of poems.

Synopsis:

Examines our culture's fascination with mystery novels and the authors who write them

Synopsis:

Drawing on a selection of the best British and American detective fiction past and present, Lehman takes readers on a probing investigation of why men and women of all educational and social backgrounds are continually fascinated by the murder mystery.

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 227-235) and indexes.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780472085859
Author:
Lehman, David
Publisher:
University of Michigan Press
Location:
Ann Arbor :
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Subject:
Mystery & Detective Fiction
Subject:
Detective and mystery stories
Subject:
Detective and mystery stories, English
Subject:
Criminal investigation
Subject:
Detective and mystery stories, American
Subject:
Murder in literature
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General Literary Criticism & Collections
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paper Text
Series Volume:
no. 10
Publication Date:
20000231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Reference and Criticism
History and Social Science » Politics » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

The Perfect Murder: A Study in Detection Used Trade Paper
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Product details 288 pages University of Michigan Press - English 9780472085859 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Examines our culture's fascination with mystery novels and the authors who write them

"Synopsis" by , Drawing on a selection of the best British and American detective fiction past and present, Lehman takes readers on a probing investigation of why men and women of all educational and social backgrounds are continually fascinated by the murder mystery.
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