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Mayhem and Murder : Narative and Moral Issues in the Detective Story - Heta Pyrhoenen

Mayhem and Murder

Narative and Moral Issues in the Detective Story

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The detective story centres on unravelling two questions: whodunit? and who is guilty? In Murder and Mayhem, Heta Pyrh?nen examines how these questions organize and pattern the genre's formal and thematic structures. Beginning with a semiotic reading of the detective as both code-breaker and sign-reader, Pyrh?nen's theoretical analysis then situates the reader and the detective in parallel worlds - both use the detective genre's typical motifs in solving the crime, but do not employ the same narrative interpretations to do so. This difference is examined with the help of the familiar game analogy: while the fictional world of the criminal functions as the detective's antagonist, readers see both the detective and the criminal as the fictional masks behind which their own adversary, the author, is hiding. The reading of detective stories as complex interpretative games reveals how the genre engages the reader's formal imagination and moral judgment.

Discussing a range of detective stories from works by Conan Doyle and Chesterton to Borges and Rendell, and drawing on the work of major critics - including Dennis Porter, Umberto Eco, John T. Irwin, and Slavoj -i]ek - Pyrhoenen offers a unique, sophisticated, and engagingly lucid analysis of a complex genre.

Introductionp. 3
Investigating 'Whodunit'
Projecting the Criminalp. 31
Abduction: Interpreting Signs for Narrative Endsp. 65
Fitting the Solution to the Mysteryp. 92
Investigating Guilt
The Reading of Guiltp. 129
Putting Together an Ethical View of Lifep. 162
The Anatomy of Good and Evil in Agatha Christiep. 191
Symbolic Exchanges with Death: Raymond Chandlerp. 228
Coming to an Endp. 258
Notesp. 265
Works Citedp. 319
Indexp. 333
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780802082671
ISBN-10: 080208267X
Series: Toronto Studies in Semiotics
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 27th November 1999
Country of Publication: CA
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 15.88  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.52