Murder Most Foul: Explorations in Crime Writing

Author: Barbara Stanners, Publisher: Phoenix

Murder has always exuded a fascinating hold on our psyche, simultaneously repulsive and thrilling. Investigating ‘whodunit’ requires a keen mind and a determined search for the truth. This is typically marked by a logical, deductive process which draws us into the investigation itself. Many critics have noted the escapist nature of crime writing while others have stressed the effectiveness of the genre as a vehicle for exploring contemporary issues. Whether in the form of fiction, film, short story, graphic novel or other mediums including television, this broad based genre has retained universal appeal.

This text examines the reasons behind its enduring popularity, evaluating the themes and stylistic elements that have been retained as well as those that have changed in response to shifting societal views, values and ‘norms’.



  • The ‘classic’ Murder Mystery

Investigating Murder

  • Murder – The Ultimate Taboo
  • The Evolution of the Detective – M. Billingham

Classic Detection

  • Edgar Allen Poe’s Detective stories
  • ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ – E. A. Poe
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Sherlock Holmes
  • ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’- A. C. Doyle

Golden Age of Crime Writing

  • The ‘cosy whodunit’
  • Christie’s Detectives
  • ‘The Mousetrap’ – Agatha Christie
  • Hard-boiled’ Detectives
  • ‘The Big Sleep’ – Howard Hawks

Guidelines and Essays

Crime Writing Poetry

Genre Appropriation / Subversion

  • ‘It Had to be Murder’ –Cornell Woolrich
  • ‘Rear Window’ – A.  Hitchcock
  • The Real Inspector Hound- T. Stoppard
  • ‘The Skull Beneath the Skin’ - P. D. James
  • ‘Anil’s Ghost’- M. O
  • Feminised Crime Writing
  • ‘The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender’ – M. Day

Responding and Composing Skills

  • ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ – R. Dahl
  • ‘Full Time’ – S. O’Brien
  • The Writing Process
  • Writing a Thesis


More Information
Year Level Year 11, Year 12
Date of Publication 2010
ISBN 9781921586224
Subject English
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