Criminal convictions : errant essays on perpetrators of literary license /
by Nicolas Freeling.
London : Peter Owen, 1994.
xiv, 155 p. ; 22 cm.
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London : Peter Owen, 1994.
contents note
Crime and metaphysics -- Stendhal -- Charles Dickens -- Joseph Conrad -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -- Rudyard Kipling -- Raymond Chandler -- Dorothy L. Sayers -- Georges Simenon -- Apologia pro vita sua.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1994-05-15:
Freeling, the celebrated author of 30 mystery novels (e.g., Flanders Sky, Mysterious Pr., 1992), here offers reflections on, rather than criticism of, his chosen genre. He paints on a broad canvas; his assertion that virtually all major 19th-century novelists are crime writers because ``nobody had then put crime into quotation marks'' allows him to essay Stendhal, Kipling, and Conrad, among others, while leaving later chapters open for Dorothy Sayers and Simenon. His sensibilities are keen, and he calls things as he sees them. The longest chapter, on Dickens, does a dead-on job of spearing Bleak House's glaring faults while also holding it up as one of the great novels of the language. Similarly, on Raymond Chandler he writes, ``While a formidable craftsman tactically...Ray was never good at the overall strategy of a book-length narrative.'' Fun, informed, and full of personal insight, this should appeal to Freeling's many readers and to ``literary'' mystery buffs.-Robert E. Brown, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1995-04-24:
In these witty, elegant, original essays, Freeling, famous English writer of detective novels, first examines crime themes in major 19th-century writers: Dickens, for whom crime is symptomatic of the Victorian bourgeois world's complacency, corruption and squeezing of the poor; Stendhal, who saw the state as itself criminal; Joseph Conrad, whose crime plots pivot on moral cowardice and guilt. Freeling also investigates Kipling's neglected crime stories, and he blasts Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes as an embodiment of British imperialist arrogance. Turning to our century, Freeling explores Raymond Chandler's reinvention of the tale of sudden violence, Georges Simenon's urgent questioning of the meaning of suffering and redemption, Dorothy Sayers's portrayal of women defending themselves against the encroachments of a sexist society. Freeling's continually surprising essays eloquently support his view that crime is metaphysically bound up with the destruction of the mind, the pathology of the human spirit. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Main Description
The distinguished crime novelist writes on his genre with humor and insight, with revealing and perceptive views on the likes of Dickens, Conrad, and Chandler and more.
Main Description
The distinguished crime novelist writes on his genre with humour and insight, with revealing and perceptive views on the likes of Dickens, Conrad and Chandler and more.

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