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  • Cited by 3
  • Print publication year: 2003
  • Online publication date: May 2006

12 - Black crime fiction


To write about black crime fiction, as opposed to white or any other kind of crime fiction, is to write about a body of writing that does not exist, or rather does not exist in isolation from, and has not developed outside or beyond the parameters of, these other kinds of crime fiction. Crime fiction, like all cultural practice, informs and is informed by its cultural and political contexts; so that just as the idea that 'blackness' or 'whiteness' ever described natural essences or biologically pure categories has been well and truly dismissed, the idea that the term 'black' (or indeed 'white') crime fiction refers, or has ever referred, to a rigidly defined and uniform practice, needs to be resisted. But this is a chapter on black crime fiction, nonetheless, and its very existence in a book of this nature testifies to the continuing significance of race as a trope of difference both in Britain and the United States. After all, who could argue with any conviction that categories like 'black' or 'white' in the US and Europe are suddenly of no consequence, when much of the anecdotal evidence points to the contrary?

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