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Detecting Women: Gender and the Hollywood Detective Film Paperback – April 22, 2011

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Detecting Women: Gender and the Hollywood Detective Film + An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (Cordelia Gray Mysteries, No. 1)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (April 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1438434049
  • ISBN-13: 978-1438434049
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,166,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This imaginative and entertaining study of the `woman detective' film makes a huge contribution by giving extensive treatment to the female detectives in B movies and to the many investigating women characters in films not usually considered detective films. It will have great appeal for scholars, film buffs, and mystery fans." --Linda Mizejewski, author of Hardboiled and High Heeled: The Woman Detective in Popular Culture

From the Back Cover

In this extensive and authoritative study of more than three hundred films, Philippa Gates explores the "woman detective" figure from her pre-cinematic origins in nineteenth-century detective fiction through her many incarnations throughout the history of Hollywood cinema. Through the lens of theories of gender, genre, and stardom and engaging with the critical concepts of performativity, masquerade, and feminism, Detecting Women analyzes constructions of the female investigator in the detective genre and focuses on the evolution of her representation from 1929 to today. While a popular assumption is that images of women have become increasingly positive over this period, Gates argues that the most progressive and feminist models of the female detective exist in mainstream film's more peripheral products, such as 1930s B pictures and 1970s blaxploitation films. Offering revisions and new insights into peripheral forms of mainstream film, Gates explores this space that allows a fantasy of resolution of social anxieties about crime and, more interestingly, gender, in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The author's innovative, engaging, and capacious approach to this important figure within feminist film history breaks new ground in the fields of gender and film studies.

More About the Author

Philippa Gates is Professor of Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada. Her research and writing focuses on representations of gender and race in Hollywood genre films. Her 2011 book, "Detecting Women: Gender and the Hollywood Detective Film" was nominated for a 2012 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reaves on April 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a collector of pulp fiction and anything to do with this period. This book is a great addition as there is not a lot of literature concerning women and the pulps - especially women detectives. This book is very informative and a real pleasure to read.
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