English 24

Freshman Seminar: California Detectives in Fiction and Film

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Spring 2015 Hutson, Richard
W 10-11 201 Wheeler

Book List

Corpi, Lucha: Black Widow's Wardrobe; Hammett, Dashiell: The Maltese Falcon; MacDonald, Ross: The Zebra-Striped Hearse

Other Readings and Media

Films:  Devil in a Blue Dress, Chinatown, and Chan is Missing


For a variety of reasons, both San Francisco and Los Angeles have been great places for the work of crime and detection. Certain theorists of detective fiction have noted that such works of art are especially committed to the invocation and experience of places. Crimes and their detection/solution take place in concrete places. And California demography also allows for a variety of ethnic detectives. I plan to read three novels, Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, Ross MacDonald’s The Zebra-Striped Hearse, and Lucha Corpi’s Black Widow’s Wardrobe, and screen three films: Devil in a Blue Dress, Chinatown, and Chan is Missing. I have Anglo, Chicana, African American and Chinese detectives—whose ethnicity allows them to enter different populations and areas to solve crimes or mysteries.

This 1-unit course may not be counted as one of the twelve courses required to complete the English major.

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