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Detective Fiction

Detective Fiction and Argumentation

Megan Brown

on 22 October 2013

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Transcript of Detective Fiction

Detective Fiction
Elements of Detective Fiction
American author
Wrote the first full-fledged detective story "Murders in the Rue Morgue" in 1841
Created the character C. Auguste Dupin
Inspired by a famous zoologist who insisted upon the significance of seemingly insignificant clues
Characterized Dupin as eccentric and smarter than law officials
Wrote two more detective stories, including "The Purloined Letter"
Known as "the father of detective fiction"
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Crime must be significant
Detective must be memorable, often with interesting quirks
Opponent must be clever
Suspects are often introduced early in the story
Clues must be made available to the reader
Solution must seem obvious and logical
What is Detective Fiction?
It is a sub-genre of mystery fiction in which a crime, usually a murder - the identity of the perpetrator unknown - is solved by a detective through a logical assembling and interpretation of evidence, known as clues.
“Poe is the supreme short story writer of all time.”
~Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
“The prince of American Literature.”
~Victor Hugo
“It’s because I liked Edgar Allan Poe’s stories so much that I began to make suspense films.”
~Alfred Hitchcock
Stories with crime-solving plots predate the detective fiction genre
The Enlightenment17th and 18th centuries
Scientific Method
Centralized Police Force
London in the 1830's
First time the word detective appeared
Term made popular by Charles Dickens
Jack the Ripper
Newspaper accounts made the people of Victorian England familiar with real-life crime solving
Edgar Allen Poe
Scottish author and physician
Admired Poe's work
Eccentric detective
Story told through the point of view of a friend
Incompetent police officials
Created Sherlock Holmes
Modeled Holmes after Dr. Joseph Bell, a medical professor at Edinburgh University
The Beloved Holmes
Alibi - A plea offered by an accused person of not having been at the scene of crime.

Clue - Something that appears to give information toward solving the crime.

Deduction - Collecting the facts and drawing a possible conclusion.

Evidence - Someone or something that proves who committed the crime.

Red herring - A false lead that throws the investigator off track.

Sleuth - An investigator or detective.

Suspects - People who appear to have a motive for committing the crime.

Witness - Person who has personal knowledge about the crime.
Detective Vocabulary
Appearance fashioned after Dr. Bell
around six feet tall, with a thin "razor-like" face, a large nose, like a hawk, and small, sharp eyes
Pictures of Holmes depict him as handsomer than Conan Doyle imagined him
Holmes was so beloved that much of the mail Conan Doyle received was addressed to Holmes instead of himself
Conan Doyle characterizes Holmes as unemotional, aloof, coolly rational, and arrogant
Solves crimes because he enjoys the intellectual challenge rather than to do good deeds
Anna Katharine Green
American author
She wrote the first known detective novel by a woman, The Leavenworth Case, in 1878
Her book became a bestseller and required reading at Yale's school of law
She created the first female detective, Amelia Butterworth
She also created a younger detective named Violet Strange of "The Intangible Clue"
She is known as "the mother of detective fiction"
Women in the Victorian Era
During the 19th century, many women authors were not taken seriously
Many women had to use pen names that sounded masculine in order to get published (e.g. George Eliot)
Green had to explain reasons for why her female detectives engaged in their work
Violet Strange performs detective work in secret to support a disinherited sister
Women were supposed to be delicate and concerned with the affairs of the house, so Strange must create a false reason for engaging in detective work
Full transcript