Talking About Detective Fiction - TheNEWEerieCoterie Book Pick (bn.com)
As you begin this book you are greeted by P.D. James signature voice; knowledgeable, literate, forthright and professional. Her language is one of the reasons she is one of the best novelists alive - hopefully for a bit longer, too! In this book she revisits, criticizes, admires and distrusts a genre that she has inhabited for many decades, but is changing with the times. However, her dedication to the Detective tale is clear: For a genre to be so full of murder, sin, suspense and (more often than not) realistic, we find peace and harmony in a set of book where by the ending we know it will all be alright. Is it really?? James' most powerful trait is how her clean and tidy ending have a surface gloss and that underneath uncertainty still disturbs the waters. In an age where forensic science, crime scene investigators, District Attorneys and judge seem to be in the forefront of detection is there still room for old-fashioned detective stories like the one's James writes?? This book highlights the roots of the genre; the Golden Age or "cozy village" mysteries filled with eccentric characters and a nosy sleuth, while also giving a nod to the "noir" tales of Hammett and Dashiel. Above all else, James shows that it is about the mystery and the resolution, but deeper still it is about characters and their motives in their lives. We may feel comforted that the murderer is caught, yet will tremble at the thought of our own actions in a similar situation. Like the best of literature James fits the bill and proves she knows the genre she has lived in like no other.
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