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Mayhem and Murder Narrative and Moral Problems in the Detective Story

by Heta Pyrhonen

  • ISBN: 9780802082671
  • ISBN10: 080208267X

Mayhem and Murder Narrative and Moral Problems in the Detective Story

by Heta Pyrhonen

  • List Price: $33.95
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Univ of Toronto Pr
  • Publish date: 09/01/1999
  • ISBN: 9780802082671
  • ISBN10: 080208267X
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Description: The detective story centres on unravelling two questions: whodunit? and who is guilty? In Mayhem and Murder, Heta Pyrhoenen 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, Pyrhoenen's theoretical analysis then situates the reader and the detective in parallel, but similar, 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 use both the detective and criminal as the fictional mask 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 judgement.
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