The Washington Independent Review of Books has recently featured two articles by me—the first a column on “writing things” I’m thankful for (just in time for Thanksgiving!) and the other a review of John Walton’s new study The Legendary Detective: The Private Eye in Fact and Fiction. Here’s an excerpt that review:
Walton’s thesis is more subtle and extensive than simply arguing that fact and fiction colluded to construct this legend; instead, as he says late in the book, “This is a study of American society and culture that reveals how the detective business arose, fashioning its own fictions, in tandem with a culture industry that was constrained by commercial fact, each a piece of the larger political economy and both subject to an essential interplay.” The word he emphasizes as part of the connection here is “symbiotic.”
As you might already be able to tell, The Legendary Detective is intended more for an academic audience than a casual readership. Walton doesn’t draw heavily on the tactics and techniques of creative nonfiction, and the book remains a steadfast sociological history. But, to my mind, the subject matter gives the book potential for wider, more general consumption as well.
Read the full article here.