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    I have never really read crime/detective novels but as i am hoping to English Lit at uni I'm trying to broaden my horizons a little....Does anyone have any suggestions for this genre? peacenik x

    You might have better luck with this in the Books subforum. What sort of books do you normally enjoy? I don't normally read crime, but I've just read "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" by (I think) Laurie R. King: it's a sort of Sherlock Holmes gets an apprentice thing, but so much better than that makes it sound. Then obviously there are people like Agatha Christie and so on. Or you might prefer something more modern, like Malcolm Pryce's "Last Tango in Aberystwyth", which is apprently quite funny rather than simply being straightforward crime fiction. Why not go to the library and have a look at a few books to see what sounds like your sort of thing?

    (Original post by peacenik)
    I have never really read crime/detective novels but as i am hoping to English Lit at uni I'm trying to broaden my horizons a little....Does anyone have any suggestions for this genre? peacenik x
    Novels about detectives rarely rise to the level of great literature, and I'm sure, if you want to broaden your horizons, there are better ways to spend what little time you have before going up to university. The traditional and most obvious detective novels are:

    'The Murders in the Rue Morgue' by Edgar Allen Poe, perhaps the first such novel in English. His French counterpart is Émile Gaboriau, often called the Poe of France.

    The Sherlock Holmes books of Arthur Conan Doyle.

    There are scores of other authors of course, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L. Sayers, Henning Mankell (one of the best of the present generation of crime writers), Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson, Patricia Cornwell, Agatha Christie, Michael Connelly, G. K. Chesterton, Karin Slaughter, James Ellroy, Ruth Rendell, and so on.

    On the other hand, great authors are much more willing to write about crime, and its moral, psychological, and social implications: several books of interest:

    1. Crime and Punishment -- Dostoevsky.

    2. The Brothers Karamazov -- Dostoevsky.

    2. The Secret Agent -- Joseph Conrad.

    3. Querelle -- Jean Genet.

    4. Bleak House -- Dickens.

    5. Les Misérables -- Victor Hugo.

    6. Thérèse Raquin – Émile Zola.

    7. Blood Meridian -- Cormac McCarthy.

    8. In Cold Blood -- Truman Capote.

    9. A Clockwork Orange -- Anthony Burgess.

    10. Justine -- The Marquis de Sade.

    11. Intruder in the Dust -- William Faulkner.

    12. Sanctuary -- William Faulkner (not the best of Faulkner; if you do read it, I'd also read 'Absalom, Absalom!' and 'As I Lay Dying' to correct your impression of him).

    13. Resurrection -- Tolstoy.

    14. American Pastoral -- Philip Roth.

    15. Underworld -- Don DeLillo (only loosely deals with crime, but a wonderful distillation of American life in all its guises over the past fifty years).

    16. An American Dream -- Norman Mailer.

    17. The Executioner's Song -- Norman Mailer.

    18. Our Lady of the Flowers -- Jean Genet.

    That's probably enough for now.

    Raymond Chandler probably invented the whole "Doghouse Reilly" type private detective character, so you may want to read a bit of him. "The Big Sleep" is a good one
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Updated: July 13, 2005


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