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Haia Shpayer-Makov, Revisiting the Detective Figure in Late Victorian and Edwardian Fiction: A View from the Perspective of Police History, 165-193

Article

Published onSep 01, 2011
Haia Shpayer-Makov, Revisiting the Detective Figure in Late Victorian and Edwardian Fiction: A View from the Perspective of Police History, 165-193

Abstract
The mechanics of detection and figures with an investigatory function appeared in fictional texts in Britain before the mid-nineteenth century,2 but it was approximately from this period onwards that the detective in the modern sense gradually became a recognised figure and the genre was acknowledged as a literary form. By the end of the century, just a few years
after the creation of Sherlock Holmes and the establishment of his subsequent enormous popularity, the repertoire of detective characters in fiction was of an unprecedented diversity, feeding the public’s seemingly insatiable appetite for this fascinating figure. Despite such diversity, researchers have observed common themes related to the detective figure in
British fiction. The recurrent nature of these themes has lent itself to varied ideological and contextual readings by scholars, mostly from a literary perspective. This article, by contrast, re-examines these and other themes and tropes in the context of police history.

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