Author: International Crime Fiction Research Group

About International Crime Fiction Research Group

The International CrimeFiction research group, based at @QUB_Humanities, connects scholars working on popular fiction, popular culture and digital humanities.

A new issue of the Mystery Readers Journal on Scandi Crime Fiction

Scandinavian Crime Fiction

Yay! Mystery Readers Journal has a second special issue on Scandinavian Mysteries out. Check out that tempting table of contents.

Thanks to the kind permission of Janet Rudolph, who moonlights as a perpetual motion machine, I am reprinting an essay I contributed  (also posted at Janet’s Mystery Fanfare blog).

Reparations: World War II in Scandinavian Fiction

Many readers’ perceptions of Scandinavia as a peaceful, socially-progressive region have been shaped by childhood history lessons. Sweden was neutral during World War II. Norwegians bravely resisted German occupation. Finland fought for its independence both from the Soviets and the Nazis. Danes followed their king’s example and wore yellow stars of David to show solidarity with Danish Jews. In fact, these stories are at best half-truths, patriotic narratives that helped Scandinavian countries recover their dignity as they established strong post-war societies.

The reality was messier. Sweden’s iron ore supported German munitions factories and enriched Swedes…

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Symposium : Towards a Digital Atlas of European Crime Fiction? (British Library Conference Centre, April 10, 2015)

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In the last decades the astonishing speed in the global circulation of cultural works and the unprecedented opportunities to gather and analyse large amount of data through electronic resources have opened up new possibilities for researchers in all disciplines. At the same time, the spatial turn in the Humanities has prompted scholars to consider the benefits of using maps and graphs to investigate the transnational history of cultural phenomena. However, while scholars working on quite traditional literary subjects have been quick to discuss and carry out the provocative claims made by Franco Moretti in The Atlas of the European Novel (1998), an ideal case study for such an approach, i.e. popular fiction, had been largely neglected.

The AHRC-funded project Visualising European Crime Fiction: New Digital Tools and Approaches to the Study of the Transnational Popular Culture has represented a first attempt to adopt this approach in the field of crime fiction studies, starting to collect data from different sources and exploring the uses of an online database and various visualisation tools. This exploratory project in partnership with the Paris-based BILIPO aimed at testing a number of strategies and possibilities in order to envision a larger, longer-term initiative to conduct extensive studies on the transnational circulation of popular fiction at the European level.  Researchers from a group of universities in the UK, France, Hungary, Sweden and the Czech Republic have collaborated to create sample datasets, the prototype database and a series of visualisations. Continue reading

The Seven Types of Locked Room Mystery

The Bodies From The Library

According to John Dickson Carr, there are no less than seven distinct types of locked room mystery. At least that is what his character Dr Fell tells the readers in chapter seventeen of his 1935 classic The Hollow Man (widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of that genre). Having mentioned this last week, I have been prevailed upon to summarise Dr Fell’s categorisations as a reminder for those who have read the book some time ago or to enable those who have yet to do so to benefit from Dr Fell’s elucidation while skipping over the relevant chapter (as Dickson Carr invites them to do) so they can get on with the plot.

1 The murder is not a murder but is, in fact, an accident. The circumstances are such that it appears there has been a murder but this is not the case. Instead there has been a fatal…

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The Irish Crime Week Giveaway!

Following the Roddy Doyle giveaway last week (which was won by Col at The Only Way is Reading), this week I have a crime related prize up for grabs!

_DRB5180 Photo: DRB Images

As I’m going to be spending the week reading and reviewing Irish Crime Fiction, I’m offering one lucky winner signed copies of Eoin McNamee’s Blue is the Colour and Stuart Neville’s The Final Silence, along with a rather nifty tote bag from Northern Ireland’s greatest bookshop – No Alibis (where both these books were bought!)

Blue is the Night(taken from Eoin McNamee’s website)

1949. Lance Curran is set to prosecute a young man for a brutal murder, in the ‘Robert the Painter’ case, one which threatens to tear society apart. In the searing July heat, corruption and justice vie as Harry Ferguson, Judge Curran’s fixer, contemplates the souls of men adrift, and his own fall from…

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The Irresistible Rise of Irish Crime Fiction

Crime Collage

When asked why he chose to set his first crime novel in the US, Irish writer John Connolly said, ‘Because in Ireland everybody would’ve known who done it within days.’ Exaggeration aside, in the pre-Celtic Tiger landscape of Ireland, this may well have been the case, but it certainly isn’t nowadays as Irish crime fiction appears to be in its prime and becoming a genre of its own to rival our Scandinavian counterparts.

Val McDermid, in a recent Radio 4 programme coined the phrase ‘Emerald Noir’ – but whatever you call it, Celtic Crime or Hibernian Homicide is now gaining worldwide attention. Compared to back in the 1980s when you could possibly name Colin Bateman or Eoin McNamee as famous Irish crime writers, nowadays you have writers such as Tana French, Ken Bruen, Declan Hughes, Declan Burke, Arlene Hunt and Stuart Neville all jostling for the crime spotlight.

Tana French Tana French

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Data Visualisation Event at QUB – March 5-6, 2015

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Data Visualization for the Arts and Humanities

5 – 6 March, Queen’s University Belfast

The Digital Arts and Humanities (DAH) structured PhD programme in collaboration with the Digital Humanities Research Group at the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities and the AHRC-funded project “Visualising European Crime Fiction”, are hosting a two-day ‘Data Visualisation for the Arts and Humanities’ event at QUB, 5-6 March 2015.

This two-day event includes hands on workshops and invited speakers who will address practical as well as theoretical features of data visualisation. Through this mix of practice and theory we hope to provide participants with a comprehensive introduction to the potentialities of applying this approach to research in the Arts and the Humanities. Continue reading

Mapping the Urban Landscape of a Cult Movie : Bullitt’s San-Francisco

International Crime Fiction Research Group

Bullit

Bullitt, the movie with Steve McQueen features a scene often seen as the mother of  filmic car chases. Certainly, cars speeding at full force of their engines, as an ambivalent proxy for escape and death, industrial perfection and doomed individual freedom  are a token of many classic film noirs. There are memorable ones in Fritz Lang, Becker, Jules Dassin, Melville, to name but a few.  Among what sets Bullitt’s chase apart from the preceding ones and makes it so influential for subsequent directors (and striking for us), is certainly the sense of time and location it is embued with. It was filmed in  San Francisco and close surroundings  in the spring of 1968.

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Covering so much space through its streets, the movie maps in effect San Francisco. But of course, and this is one of the sources for its fascination now, it is a San Francisco which does no longer exist. Mapping the film, in return, is akin…

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Berlinale 2015 showcases international crime dramas and thrillers from Germany, Israel, Denmark, Sweden and Italy

Mrs. Peabody Investigates

The 2015 Berlinale – one of the world’s top international film festivals – closes today in Berlin. As ever, a host of wonderful films have been shown during the packed ten-day programme, with the Iranian film Taxi, directed by dissident filmmaker Jafar Panahi, awarded the coveted Golden Bear.

While reading coverage of the festival, I was interested to see that some international TV dramas were premiered as part of the programme, and that a number of these had a pronounced crime/thriller/spying dimension. Alessandra Stanley’s excellent article in the New York Times provides a good overview, and also discusses how such series are beginning to be picked up in the States (and not always to be remade in English either), which is a very good sign.

Here are a few of the series in question:

Deutschland 83. There’s quite a lot of buzz about this spying drama in Germany and beyond, and it has now also been picked…

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Detection Series in France in the 1920’s

International Crime Fiction Research Group

Messac

In France, the 1920’s saw  a decisive evolution in the critical recognition of the crime genre (with, notably, the 1929 publication of Régis Messac’s thesis on the detective novel)  and in the organisation of the publishing industry towards the promotion of crime fiction. The most notable series created at the time was certainly the perennial “Le Masque”. It was by no means the only significant one.  Neither was it the first. Here are a few landmarks

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