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Detective and mystery stories

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The Many Moods of Crime Fiction

Novelist Donald Westlake has written everything, from confession stories to westerns to science fiction. But he's found the most success with his mystery and crime stories. He wrote a series of novels under the name Richard Stark featuring an emotionless criminal named Parker; his newest book, Trust Me on This, is a humorous tale of a tabloid journalist.


A Good Year for Mystery Fans

Book critic John Leonard says Canadian author Timothy Findley's new mystery novel, The Telling of Lies, stands out among a solid batch of recent books. Its triple twist and political intrigue makes it an excellent read.


Lawyer and Crime Fiction Writer Andrew Vachss

Vachss is based in New York and specializes in child abuse cases. His work extends into his crime fiction, which follows an unlicensed detective named Burke. Vachss also helped manage a juvenile prison.


Feminist Writer Carolyn Heilbrun

Literature professor and writer Carolyn Heilbrun writes about women's issues under her own name, and detective novels under the pseudonym Amanda Cross. She believes that the path forward for feminism is androgyny and a greater blurring of gender roles and identities.


A Second Chance for Barry Fleming's Forgotten Novel

Fleming was a well-regarded author whose book, The Make-Believers, was ignored by large publishing houses and readers alike. Guest critic Stuart Klawans says the novel deserved more attention, and hopes a new reissue will help it find a bigger audience.


The Origins of Hard-Boiled Detective Fiction

Authors like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler rose to prominence in pulp magazines like The Black Mask. Writer Ron Goulart's new book, The Dime Detectives, explores this history. Goulart is a genre author who publishes under a variety of different pseudonyms.


Detective Novelist Joseph Hansen

Hansen's books feature a gay man in the hyper-masculine role of private detective. Hansen himself is gay, and hopes that his novels will help his readers become more accepting of homosexuality.


Raymond Chandler's Lasting Influence on Detective Fiction

Book critic Maureen Corrigan reflects on the literary legacy of the hard-boiled novelist, who was born one hundred years ago. She says Chandler's writing had an existentialist bent, and that Chandler may have been dismayed by the recent crop of politically-minded mystery novels, which feature gay and women detectives.


An Italian Detective Takes on the Modern World

Book critic John Leonard reviews the new detective novel Ratking, by Michael Dibdin. Leonard says the narrative, set in Italy, keeps the mystery genre alive by confronting bourgeois life and corrupt politics.

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