The University of Wisconsin Press

Popular Culture


The Mystery of Mysteries
Cultural Differences and Designs
Samuel Coale

Popular Press

Four American mystery writers have contributed new dimensions to the mystery form. Tony Hillerman's Navajos and their customs, Amanda Cross's (Carolyn Heilbrun's) academics and their feminist credentials (or lack thereof), James Lee Burke's Southern Louisiana Cajuns and his own fiercely moral take on Southern gothic fiction, and Walter Mosley's urban blacks and their culture have challenged the conventional mystery's focus.

Using feminist and black critical theory, mythic and historical patterns, and literary genre theory, Samuel Coale examines these writers' works and investigates the compromises that each is forced to make when working within a recognizably popular literary form.

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Book cover has a black background with a giant red question mark in the middle with a skull in the dot.

June 2002
LC: 99-055806 PS
242 pp.  6 x 9
ISBN-10: 0-87972-813-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-87972-813-7
Cloth $51.95 t
ISBN-10: 0-87972-814-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-87972-814-4
Paper $25.95 t

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