This is a monograph investigating the way in which detective fiction reflects wider
issues in society. From its growth in Europe in the nineteenth-century, detective
fiction has developed into one of the most popular genres of literature and popular
culture more widely.
In this monograph, Mary Evans examines detective fiction and its complex relationship
to the modern and to modernity. She focuses on two key themes: the moral relationship
of detection (and the detective) to a particular social world and the attempt to
restore and even improve the social world that has been threatened and fractured
by a crime, usually that of murder. It is a characteristic of much detective fiction
that the detective, the pursuer, is a social outsider: this status creates a complex
web of relationships between detective, institutional life and dominant and subversive
Evans questions who and what the detective stands for and suggests that the answer
challenges many of our assumptions about the relationship between various moralities
in the modern world.
The Imagination of Evil: Detective Fiction and the Modern World
Continuum International Publishing Group, UK, 2009