The Noir Thriller

Lee Horsley

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What is literary noir? How do British and American noir thrillers relate to their historical contexts? In considering such questions, this study ranges over hundreds of novels, analysing the politics and poetics of noir from the hard-boiled fiction of Hammett, Chandler and Cain to the exciting diversity of nineties thrillers, with sections on the tough investigators, gangsters and victims of the Depression years: the first-person killers, femmes fatales and black protagonists of mid-century; the game-players, voyeurs and consumers of contemporary thrillers and future noir.

'A good treatment of the fiction, its cultural relevance, cinematic parallels, and criticism; highly recommended for undergraduate and research collections supporting film and popular culture.'

J.R. Christopher, Choice, 2001

'The Noir Thriller marks another title in Palgrave's "Crime Files" series, whose editorial philosophy is to offer "scholars, students and discerning readers a comprehensive set of guides to the world of crime and detective fiction", a philosophy Lee Horsley admirably meets with her readable, serious (though sometimes humorous) journey through noir streets and landscapes more varied than critics recognize.'

- Anthony Bukoski, Studies in the Novel, 2002

'In constructing her constantly original argument, Lee Horsley rams unstoppably through many hundreds of books and a good range of films; astonishingly, either by their positioning in her well-conceived categories or through more detailed analysis, she implies a fresh, carefully nuanced reading of each. This study of the twentieth-century thriller in all of its darker manifestations is from now on indispensable.'

- Martin Priestman, International Fiction Review, 2006

'It's a pleasure to follow her journey from Joseph Conrad to James Ellroy, from Black Mask magazine to William Gibson...Very inspiring is [her] attention to the links between literature and film throughout the book...recommended as a handbook for anyone with a deeper interest in classic as well as modern crime fiction. Audiences of noir and neo-noir cinema are sure to find in it their favourite genre's sources of inspiration.'

- Marcus Stiglegger, Gutenberg-University, Mainz Germany, Paradoxa

'A welcome scholarly project...The Noir Thriller will stand for the foreseeable future as the one-volume scholarly handbook to the hardboiled/bleak/violent end of crime fiction...The range and depth of her scholarship is impressive - not only does she know about more crime novels than anyone I know of, she knows more about what's been written about them.'

- Crime Factory, The Australian Crime Fiction Magazine

'Lee Horsley is an able guide to the world of the noir thriller, in terms of the breadth of reading that supports her survey and her ability to find structural pathways through the genre... it is good at the thematic and structural interconnections within the genre, and in challenging its parameters...' - Routledge ABES June 2011

LEE HORSLEY is Reader in Literature and Culture at Lancaster University, UK. Her publications include Political Fiction and the Historical Imagination (1990), Fictions of Power in English Literature 1900-1950 (1995) and Twentieth-Century Crime Fiction (2005). She is currently co-editing the Blackwell Companion to Crime Fiction.


Einband gebundene Ausgabe
Seitenzahl 329
Erscheinungsdatum 19.01.2001
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-333-72045-5
Reihe Crime Files
Verlag Palgrave Macmillan UK
Maße (L/B/H) 21,8/14,6/2,5 cm
Gewicht 586 g
Auflage 2009


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  • Dedication List of Illustrations Acknowledgements Introduction PART I: 1920-45 Hard-boiled Investigators Big-shot Gangsters and Small-time Crooks Victims of Circumstance PART II: 1945-70 Fatal Men Fatal Women Strangers and Outcasts PART III: 1970-2000 Players, Voyeurs and Consumers Pasts and Futures Bibliography Index