Innovating from Tradition:Creating an Historical Detective Novel for a Contemporary Audience.

  • Claire Gradidge

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

As a writer seeking to construct a detective text as part of a research study, I looked to the work of previous authors to inform and contextualise the making of a fiction which would both respect and test genre boundaries. A remarkably adaptable genre, detective fiction has, from its early beginnings to the present day, offered the opportunity for writers to create texts which, while introducing changes to the genre and expanding its boundaries, nevertheless remain of the genre. My thesis is presented in two parts. The first is the creative element: a historical detective novel entitled Close to Home, set in the small town of Romsey during World War II. Historically and geographically accurate, the characters and events are entirely fictional. The novel demonstrates how my practice of reading as a writer – a reiterative and multi-layered exploration of the work of authors Allingham, Sayers, Tey and Peters from the twentieth century, and Penney, Griffiths and McPherson from the twenty-first century – has enabled me to create my own text. Patterned on the milieu and tropes of the earlier detective fictions and contextualised by the later works, Close to Home presents a fiction in which plot and writing technique express elements of innovation to the classic detective text. The second part is a commentary reflecting on my research process, tracing the development of my practice of reading as a writer. It explores the way in which reading and writing were inextricably linked: so that my reading influenced and inspired the creation of my novel, while the writing focused my reading practice. In offering an account of how a specific creative writing research study has been undertaken, it suggests how this can illuminate individual practice and be disseminated to other creative writing practitioners.
Date of Award29 Jan 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Winchester
SupervisorNeil McCaw (Supervisor) & Inga Bryden (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Golden Age
  • detective
  • fiction
  • historical
  • genre
  • innovation
  • reading practice
  • writing process
  • novel as research

Cite this

Innovating from Tradition:Creating an Historical Detective Novel for a Contemporary Audience.
Gradidge, C. (Author). 29 Jan 2018

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis