Thursday, March 2, 2017

"The Harmless Old Spinster Was Seen As the Perfect Solution"

WELCOME TO THESIS THURSDAY, an occasional (and probably short-lived) glimpse into the world of crime-mystery-detective fiction as seen from the topless towers of academe. As we've cruised the Interblab, we've noticed that sometimes theses, dissertations, and other manifestations of the academic environment get posted for the world to peruse, some of which are mercifully brief while others can run to book length (over 200 pages in some instances); quite a few of them exhibit commendable insight and intelligence, others overflow with trendy academic jargon obviously meant to please their advisors' predilections, while a few, to our amazement, manage to do both. The fact that some of them are also agreeably readable, when so many are typically as dry as dust, is icing on the cake.

Now since it's never our intention to pick a fight with anybody, please note that we're not engaging in personal criticism of the authors; instead of offering a point-by-point critique, we'll just link to these papers and let you decide if the ideas they contain are worthwhile. But don't forget, this is the Web, so if you're at all interested you'd better go there fast; things tend to vanish from it like fog on a hot summer's morn.

Our first thesis concerns The Female Detective, Spinster Division:

"The Spinster Detective: A comparison between Maisie Dobbs and the women detectives of the Golden Age."
By Linn Style.
Thesis, 22 pages, 2012.
Online (HERE) (PDF).
(Note: Plot descriptions, but no solutions are revealed.)

   "In 2003, the contemporary author Jacqueline Winspear made an attempt to reproduce the era of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction by creating her own spinster detective: Maisie Dobbs. Winspear captures the era well by letting each Maisie Dobbs case have a connection to the Great War, and her novels give a vivid image of interwar Britain. Although the novels are well written and seemingly captures [sic] the period well, Winspear dares to do what the classic writers did not - she lets an attractive, well-educated single woman in her early thirties be the main character.
   "The purpose of this essay is to see whether Winspear has managed to recreate the Golden Age of Detective fiction through her Maisie Dobbs’ novels. A comparison between Miss Marple, Miss Climpson, Maisie Dobbs and Sayers’ more modern female character Harriet Vane will be conducted, as well as an analysis of the settings in order to see how well the interwar period in Britain is portrayed."
Typos: "If they created a women who"; "the little sleepy village of St Mary Head"; "all around the woman’s college"; "Maisie also offers helps"; "just like [should be 'as'] Maisie gains"; "Both [should add 'of'] the women"; "adaptation of the of the spinster detective."

- An annotated bibliography of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs books is (HERE).

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