Assessments of Paretsky’s limitations as both a feminist and a social critic are bound up with assumptions about whether the hard-boiled formula she employs has the capacity to articulate a radical or subversive message. This is a debate with a long history, and although the work of Todorov, Moretti, and Porter remain influential, more recent assessments of the hard-boiled formula by Pepper, McCracken, and Walton and Jones have been less willing to condemn it on the basis of theoretical limitations. This book examines Paretsky’s work within the context of the current debate over the political possibilities and subversive potential of detective fiction, and recognises that Paretsky’s transformation of the hard-boiled formula is more profound than the gender politics with which she is associated. With an MBA and a PhD in History, Paretsky brings a unique perspective to the genre as well as an impressive range of reference and understanding.
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