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"Every murderer is probably somebody's old friend."-Agatha Christie Perhaps that is why audiences continue to be captivated by what Raymond Chandler called "The Simple Art of Murder." For who populates the pages of crime and mystery writing? People, sometimes in ordinary situations, sometimes in extraordinary ones, but in every respect, human. These are the characters we willingly follow into the mystery genre's uneasy imaginative territory. What is it about their strengths and flaws that makes us join them? Is it possible that we see a bit of ourselves in them-or in the sleuth tracking them? And who created those characters in the first place? What life experience and expertise informs their work? What are the sources of their themes, regional accents, and even the axes that some grind? Why do some wish to give us a good laugh, while others seem hell-bent on making us shudder? Whodunit? A Who's Who in Crime & Mystery Writing answers these questions and more. Here mystery expert Rosemary Herbert brings together enlightening and entertaining information on hundreds of classic and contemporary characters and authors. Some-such as P.D. James, Ian Rankin, Sherlock Holmes and Kinsey Millhone appear in individual entries. Still more keep company in articles about characters we admire, such as the Clerical Sleuth, and in pieces about those we love to hate, including the Femme Fatale and Con Artist. There is even an article on a figure that haunts so many great works of mystery -The Corpse. Drawing on the Edgar Award-nominated volume The Oxford Companion to Crime & Mystery Writing, Herbert has added 101 new entries on the hottest new names in works ranging from puzzling whodunits to chilling crime novels.
Oxford University Press Inc
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