Re-shaping Crime Fiction In Alison Taylor’s 'Simeon’s Bride'

Catherine Phelps
In Volume 1, Issue 1
Spring 2010

Abstract

Crime fiction is a genre bound by strict laws and conventions. Early literary commentary often focused on analysing these rules and classifying it into sub-genres. The strict patterns and structures of crime fiction are reflected in the work of the narratives themselves, which, with the detection and punishment of those who transgress society’s rules, seek to re-establish order on the world. As such, crime fiction has been described as a masculine genre, despite its increasing female authorship, for it supports and restores a patriarchal world after the anarchistic act of crime.

Nevertheless, there are some interesting developments appearing in crime fiction which challenge conventional structures. This paper proposes that Alison Taylor’s Simeon’s Bride uses themes from an older genre, the Female Gothic, to create a new hybridised genre in which gender constructs are challenged and subverted, and, in doing so, moves crime fiction away from its masculine strictures.

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