Recent crime fiction increasingly transcends national boundaries, with investigators operating across countries and continents. Frequently, the detective is a migrant or comes from a transcultural background. To solve the crime, the investigator is called upon to decipher the meaning(s) hidden in clues and testimonies that require transcultural forms of understanding. For the reader, the investigation discloses new interpretive methods and processes of social investigation, often challenging facile interpretations of the postcolonial world order.
Under the rubric 'postcolonial postmortems', this collection of essays seeks to explore the tropes, issues and themes that characterise this emergent form of crime fiction. But what does the 'postcolonial' bring to the genre apart from the well-known, and valid, discourses of resistance, subversion and ethnicity? And why 'postmortems'? A dissection and medical examination of a body to determine the cause of death, the 'postmortem' of the postcolonial not only alludes to the investigation of the victim's remains, but also to the body of the individual text and its contexts.
This collection interrogates literary concepts of postcoloniality and crime from transcultural perspectives in the attempt to offer new critical impulses to the study of crime fiction and postcolonial literatures. International scholars offer insights into the 'postcolonial postmortems' of a wide range of texts by authors from Africa, South Asia, the Asian and African Diaspora, and Australia, including Robert G. Barrett, Unity Dow, Wessel Ebersohn, Romesh Gunesekera, Kazuo Ishiguro, Sujata Massey, Alexander McCall Smith and Michael Ondaatje.
Christine Matzke currently teaches African literatures and theatre at the Institute of Asian and African Studies, Humboldt-University, Berlin. She is co-editor of the African studies series Matatu published by Rodopi. Her publications include articles on various aspects of African literature, theatre and culture, especially the performing arts in Eritrea. Of late she has become interested in postcolonial crime fiction and is currently contemplating the acquisition of a magnifying glass to help her with the investigation.
Susanne Mühleisen has taught English linguistics at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University of Frankfurt and the University of Hannover. She has published widely on Caribbean Creole languages in various socio-cultural contexts, such as
Creole Discourse: Exploring Prestige Formation and Change Across Caribbean English-lexicon Creoles, (Benjamins, Amsterdam 2002); ed.
Creole Languages in Creole Literatures (
JPCL Special issue) and ed. (with Bettina Migge)
Politeness and Face in Caribbean Creoles, (Benjamins, Amsterdam 2005). She has also worked in other areas of linguistics at the interface of postcolonial studies, including postcolonial translation. Her interest and enthusiasm in postcolonial crime fiction is the result of years of commuting and long train journeys.
"This is an exemplary series of studies, tracing new lines of affiliation across familiar national and genre boundaries, and I recommend it strongly to any serious student of postcolonial literary and cultural experience. The importance of popular genres in postcolonial contexts has long been overlooked; this challenging and diverse collection of essays extends the boundaries of postcolonial understanding, raising questions of authority, power and subversion in relation to the depiction of crime and its detection through a range of detailed analyses of texts and their contexts." – Dennis Walder,
Open University, Milton Keynes, UK "…a stimulating and accessible collection…" – in:
Moving Worlds 7/1 (2007)
Christine MATZKE and Susanne MÜHLEISEN: Postcolonial Postmortems: Issues and Perspectives
Stephen KNIGHT: Crimes Domestic and Crimes Colonial: The Role of Crime Fiction in Developing Postcolonial Consciousness
Wendy KNEPPER: Confession, Autopsy and the Postcolonial Postmortems of Michael Ondaatje's
Anil's Ghost Tobias DÖRING: Sherlock Holmes – He Dead: Disenchanting the English Detective in Kazuo Ishiguro's
When We Were Orphans Suchitra MATHUR: Holmes's Indian Reincarnation: A Study in Postcolonial Transposition
Katja SARKOWSKY: Manga, Zen, and Samurai: Negotiating Exoticism and Orientalist Images in Sujata Massey’s Rei Shimura Novels including an interview with Sujata Massey
Vera ALEXANDER: Investigating the Motif of Crime as Transcultural Border Crossing:
Cinnamon Gardens and
The Sandglass Elfi BETTINGER: Riddles in the Sands of the Kalahari: Detectives at Work in Botswana
Geoffrey V. DAVIS: Political Loyalties and the Intricacies of the Criminal Mind: The Detective Fiction of Wessel Ebersohn
A.B. Christa SCHWARZ: Colonial Struggle on Manhattan Soil: George Schuyler's 'The Ethiopian Murder Mystery'
Xavier PONS: 'Redneck Wonderland': Robert G. Barrett's Crime Fiction
Patricia PLUMMER: Transcultural British Crime Fiction: Mike Phillips's Sam Dean Novels including an interview with Mike Phillips
Notes on contributors