December 15, 2011

Book|Report podcast

Literary detectives

American Studies professor Catherine Nickerson was never a fan of detective fiction growing up. But in graduate school in the 1980s, she started researching depictions of violence in novels, and realized few scholars had studied crime writing. Soon, she was making a name for herself as a serious academic studying works that weren't always taken seriously. "The subject found me, rather than me finding the subject," she says.

Now, Nickerson has edited The Cambridge Companion to American Crime Fiction (Cambridge University Press, 2010) that features essays on the history and significance of crime fiction and its sub-genres (including the police procedural, teen detective novels, and mafia stories).

In recognition of her decades of work in the field, Nickerson won the George N. Dove Award in 2011 for her contributions to the study of crime fiction. 

Listen to Catherine Nickerson talk about the book and read about "the satisfaction of murder":

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