Those interested in the more arcane byways of crime fiction will find this concise but intelligent volume invaluable, with its academic (but accessible) analyses of some of the key texts in the genre. What is perhaps the most valuable aspect of the book is the fact that Peter Messent has managed to unearth new insights into this much written-about subject — no easy task in the 21st century, when a considerable amount of analysis of the field (including, in a modest way, by this writer) is so endemic. But at a stroke this volume joins the library of key texts in the field.

The Crime Fiction Handbook by Peter Messent is published by Blackwell

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