J. Dennis Huston, a widely acclaimed lecturer and professor of English at Rice University, where he teaches Shakespeare, modern drama, and film, will discuss English and American detective fiction, focusing on examples of each and examining important differences between them.
OCTOBER 6: After an introduction to detective fiction, which was invented by Edgar Allen Poe, we will study two AGATHA CHRISTIE mystery novels, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and The ABC Murders (1936).
OCTOBER 13: When AGATHA CHRISTIE wrote a mystery – The Pale Horse (1961) – that departed from her usual formula, she encountered interesting difficulties, which Huston will describe.
OCTOBER 20: DOROTHY SAYERS's The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928) and Unnatural Death (1927) feature Lord Peter Wimsey, her aristocratic amateur detective. In these two novels we will discover what happens when a traditional form is modified.
OCTOBER 27: DASHIELL HAMMETT, creator of Sam Spade and Nick and Nora Charles, wrote The Glass Key in 1931. We will consider this San Francisco-based story of murder, politics and corruption, which was Hammett's favorite among his own work.
NOVEMBER 3: RAYMOND CHANDLER's Farewell, My Lovely (1940) set in Los Angeles, is a story of theft, ransom, murder, and suicide. Huston will examine this novel, which features Chandler's famous detective, Philip Marlowe.
NOVEMBER 10: ROSS MACDONALD's The Galton Case (1959) and The Wycherly Woman (1961) feature Lew Archer, Macdonald's master private eye. Huston will conclude the series with these novels of death and loss.
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