By Maurizio Ascari
This e-book takes a glance on the evolution of crime fiction. contemplating 'criminography' as a procedure of inter-related sub-genres, it explores the connections among modes of literature comparable to revenge tragedies, the gothic and anarchist fiction, whereas making an allowance for the impact of pseudo-sciences akin to mesmerism and legal anthropology.
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Additional resources for A Counter-History of Crime Fiction: Supernatural, Gothic, Sensational
It is thanks to the love letters that Baretano wrote to Clara that Albemare becomes aware of their affair and decides to have Baretano murdered by two soldiers, Pedro and Leonardo, in order to marry the girl himself. His plan is successful, but too many people share this dangerous secret. Thus, when Pedro is imprisoned for theft and asks for Albemare’s help, the latter sends his man Valerio to the prison and has Pedro killed. Leonardo himself, however, is later imprisoned for debt and sends Albemare a letter, threatening to reveal Albemare’s dark deeds unless he pays Leonardo’s creditors.
Implicitly regarding this act as a just revenge, Cordelia lies to police commander Adam Dalgliesh in order to protect the perpetrator, but a higher court decides the fate of this female revenger, who dies a little later in a car accident. With a last ironic twist to the plot, at the end of the novel Dalgliesh self-mockingly acknowledges that the whole development of the case had been decided from the netherworld by Cordelia’s former associate – the late Bernie Pryde, a police agent Dalgliesh had fired years before: ‘ “I find it ironic and oddly satisfying that Pryde took his revenge.
13 In Renaissance tragedies the choice of the revenger is often presented as inevitable because the homicide is close to the top of the pyramid of power and consequently it is not possible to rely on the authorities to ensure that justice is carried out. Works such as Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy (c. 1587), Shakespeare’s Hamlet (c. 1600) and Cyril Tourneur’s The Atheist’s Tragedy (c. 1611) – to mention but a few – are all based on the contention between the conflicting moral codes of religion and revenge, as well as on the struggle between the individual claim to justice and a tyrannical apparatus of power.