November 27, 2009

RESTORING ORDER:

Talking About Detective Fiction: Master mystery writer P.D. James dissects her craft: a review of Talking About Detective Fiction By P.D. James (Yvonne Zipp, November 27, 2009, CS Monitor)

Fans of Baroness James’s 20 novels will be rewarded by plenty of such insights into how she approaches her chosen profession, as well as some intelligent and well-read discussion of a genre that has perhaps never been more popular.

That popularity may stem from our own uncertain times, James posits, since the mystery novel surges in popularity during periods of unrest, promising a restoration of order through human reason and ingenuity. “Whether we live in a more violent age than did, for example, the Victorians is a question for statisticians and sociologists, but we certainly feel more threatened by crime and disorder than at any other time I remember in my long life,” James writes in her conclusion. “The detective story deals with the most dramatic and tragic manifestations of man’s nature and the ultimate disruption of murder, yet the form itself is orderly, controlled, formulaic, providing a secure structure within which the imaginations of writer and reader alike can confront the unthinkable.”



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Posted by Orrin Judd at November 27, 2009 7:27 AM
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