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The Origins of the American Detective Story

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0786427765
ISBN-10: 0786427760
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Editorial Reviews


"Thorough...impressive. This volume offers an examination of the genre offered in no other study. Recommended." --Choice

"Critical...sure to fascinate passionate detective story enthusiasts." --Midwest Book Review

"In-depth information...a wealth of knowledge." --Against the Grain

About the Author

LeRoy Lad Panek, professor emeritus of English at McDaniel College, is an award-winning author of a number of books about detective fiction. He lives in Westminster, Maryland.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 227 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (September 8, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786427760
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786427765
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,480,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've always been a fan of genre literature, starting off with science fiction, and moving into horror, mysteries and then into westerns. So growing up I read a tremendous amount of novels and collections from local libraries, and got as many paperbacks as I could whenever I could raid my piggy bank. This was back in the day when, the now almost extinct, mass market paperbacks were plentiful and cheap. I was also able to get a large amount of fiction magazines cheap, back when there were plenty of them to be found. I've also always been interested in the histories of these genres. So, when I got a hold of the recent McFarland catalogue dealing with mystery fiction I couldn't help but get some of their books through my local library system.

"The Origins Of The American Detective Story" by LeRoy Lad Panek was one of these books, and it's a book detailing as how the American detective story has developed from its humble beginnings as created by Edgar Allan Poe until, roughly, the twenties. To illustrate his book-length thesis Panek details the American detective story's development through the use of copious quotes and examples from dime novels, novels, and short stories as published in newspapers and collections, although oddly enough, he seems to ignore any relation of the pulps ("Adventure", "Argosy", "Blue Book" and "Short Stories" were all publishing regularly at this time) to the detective stories development.

Still, despite all of that, this is a pretty thorough look at the development of the American detective story, and what influenced it. Others can give an overview of the book itself, but, I'll look at the book chapter by chapter, as each chapter almost stands on its own as independent articles.
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Format: Paperback
Award-winning author LeRoy Lad Panek presents The Origins of the American Detective Story, a chronicle of the creation and rise of this now-classic literary genre, particularly focusing on the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although Edgar Allen Poe essentially invented the detective story in 1841 with "Murders in the Rue Morgue", there would be years of stagnation and unoriginal popular culture dime novels until transforming social conditions would be reflected in fundamental changes in the detective novel. The rise and decline of police as an institution, the development of private detectives, the inception of the crusading news reporter, and the rise of forensic science, not to mention the literary influence of one Sherlock Holmes, would all transform and diversify the genre. A critical and close scrutiny, especially intended for literary scholars but sure to fascinate passionate detective story enthusiasts as well.
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