One of the most important trends in contemporary crime fiction is the proliferation and commercial success of crime novels written in English but set in foreign places and featuring foreign detectives—that is, the rise of the foreignizing crime novel. In spite of its prominence in the marketplace, the foreignizing crime novel has so far not been subjected to detailed analysis and has not been recognized as a distinctive crime fiction subgenre defined by its specific form of transnationalism. With the aim of addressing this knowledge gap, this essay offers a critical analysis of the foreignizing crime novel in four steps. Following a definitional discussion of the various contemporary forms of transnational crime fiction (1), it outlines the results of a mapping exercise that shows the distribution of “target” countries in primarily British and American foreignizing crime fiction; the purpose of this mapping is to provide an overview of the format and gain a preliminary understanding of its underlying logics (2). The next step is an analysis of textual characteristics (3). Despite being underappreciated and sometimes reviled by critics, the foreignizing crime novel is in fact, as this analysis shows, a complex narrative form that embodies some of the key questions of contemporary crime fiction research—questions about, for example, the role of place; the relationship between the local, the national, and the global; and the transnational horizon of contemporary crime writing. By way of conclusion, the essay argues that the foreignizing crime novel occupies a paradoxical position between two opposite valences: it is at the same time an instance of cultural appropriation and a genuine and distinctive form of world literature (4).

You do not currently have access to this content.