Mother sleuth and the queer kid: Decoding sexual identities in Maria Gronau’s detective novels

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Faye Stewart, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Why should we study lesbian detective novels? Their storylines are, in many respects, much like those of other detective narratives: set in motion by a serious crime, often involving a corpse, the plots follow the investigation of the crime and conclude with the identification and capture of the criminal. However, lesbian detective fiction differs from its more conventional counterparts in several significant ways. Queer women, doubly marginalized by their gender and their sexuality in a genre traditionally dominated by heterosexual males, have typically embodied criminal characters rather than heroic ones in canonical literary production. Narratives focusing on gay female gumshoes raise new questions about the representation of investigators and their work, create new perspectives on the processes of identification and interpretation, and formulate new answers about what is at stake in the ever-popular genre of detective fiction and its conventions. Moreover, detective fiction that thematizes gender and sexuality also emphasizes the detection of identities on multiple levels, and thus highlights the similarities and tensions between the parallel tasks of investigating crime and decoding sexualities.

Additional Information

Questions of Identity in Detective Fiction. Ed. Linda Martz and Anita Higgie. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007. 19–35.
Language: English
Date: 2007
lesbian detective novels, queer identities, German detective fiction, gaydar

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