HUM 396 Detective Fiction

Choose a piece of detective fiction by a more or less contemporary author and write a paper that describes, analyzes, and explains the ways the author uses the conventions of detective fiction in the work you have chosen. Some things you might need to consider are the character of the detective him or herself. That is, what sort of detective is he/she, a classical type of the “old school” or a hard-boiled variety? What are the detective’s major personal traits?  How does he or she solve the crime? Does the detective ever use violence in his or her investigation? What sort of world does the detective inhabit? Does he or she have a partner? What sort of person is this? What role does the partner play in the solution of the mystery? What is the nature of the evil the detective must fight or the type of villain he or she is up against? Does the detective win in the struggle against “evil”?  What is the nature of the detective’s relations with the police and/or the official power structure in his or her world? What role do women play in the detective’s world? Who are some of the “secondary” characters in the novel and what roles do they play? What role does technology play in the solving of the crime?  What are some of the major themes presented by and in the novel?

These are some of the aspects of the novel you might want to consider. You will probably not be able to talk about all of them, but choose those aspects of the work that seem most prominent and central to the overall effect of the fiction.


The paper should be 6-8 pages long. Quote from the novel extensively and use either MLA or APA style to handle the quotations in the text and to provide the source texts at the end of the paper.



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