Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Detecting Canada: Essays on Canadian Crime Fiction, Television, and Film

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Detecting Canada: Essays on Canadian Crime Fiction, Television, and Film

Article excerpt

Jeannette Sloniowski and Marilyn Rose (eds), Detecting Canada: Essays on Canadian Crime Fiction, Television, and Film (Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2014), 342 pp. Paper. $39.99. ISBN 978-1-55458-926-5.

This volume presents nine essays on a number of Canada's best-known crime writers plus a further three on crime television and film. Apparently - this comes as a surprise - the genre is 'under-investigated' in Canada and the editors' hope is that the collection will mark the beginning of greater scholarly engagement with this type of popular narrative. Amongst the writers discussed are several with whom readers this side of the Atlantic will be familiar: Thomas King, Peter Robinson, Margaret Atwood. The insightful piece on Thomas King's detective novels revealed, I confess, a side to the author of Green Grass, Running Water of which I was unaware. His Dreadful Water Shows Up and The Red Power Murders - which parody the hard-boiled detective and simultaneously examine issues to do with Native identit y in North American culture - are now definitely on my 'must read' list. I imagine most devotees of Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks novels and the ITV series based on them will be surprised to learn he is considered one of Canada's most distinguished crime writers. Jeannette Sloniowski's very readable essay on Robinson's In a Dry Season briefly discusses how Canadian it is, but is particularly significant for its analysis of the way the novel tackles issues of gender in two different eras. Atwood's Alias Grace, although something of an odd bedfellow here, is discussed by Marilyn Rose in a piece that neatly argues it is a postmodern anti-detective novel. The essays on television and film include astute analyses of the memorably gritty Wojeck series from the sixties and of the more recent, emotionally gripping Durham County. …

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