Deconstructing the deconstruction of fiction: ratiocination and the special case of the detective novel

Jane Mattisson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in book


 Detective fiction depends on the examination of clues and the drawing of logical conclusions, a process that involves the detective and the reader in a game in which the reader strives to solve the crime before the detective does. The language of detective novels can be neither arbitrary nor contradictory because the evidence must be comprehensible through a process of ratiocination, i.e. the belief that the mind can, given sufficient time, understand everything. My paper examines two novels by Jacqueline Winspear: the first, Maisie Dobbs (2005), and the eleventh and most recent addition to the Maisie Dobbs series, A Dangerous Place (2015). The paper demonstrates how Dobbs’s skills as a private investigator are honed by experience: the murder case investigated in A Dangerous Place is particularly complex not only because of the physical situation in which Dobbs finds herself but also because of the unusually complex nature of the evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage, literature and philosophy
EditorsAleks , ar Prnjat
Place of PublicationNovi Beograd
PublisherAlfa BK University
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • General Literary studies (60203)


  • clues
  • evidence
  • language
  • morality
  • ratiocination


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