Critical Analysis of the Skull Beneath the Skin Essay

1203 Words Oct 1st, 2010 5 Pages
It could be said that The Skull beneath the Skin is quite typical of the crime genre, however P.D. James has somewhat subverted the genre. The novel incorporates a combination of Intuitionist, Realist and Hard Boiled styles of crime fiction. Usually crime novels fall into one of the three afore mentioned styles. Although obviously an Intuitionist or classically styled crime novel, Skull beneath the Skins as I have previously stated incorporates all three creating a unique novel while still following the traditions and conventions of the crime genre. This can be seen from this essay reference will be made to setting, dialogue, characterisation, dramatic irony, humour, narrative structure and the conventions of crime fiction.
Setting is a
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The reader is presented with a group of characters all struggling with troubled lives. Following the strictures of the Intuitionist text this serves the purpose of making all characters a suspect in the inevitable murder investigation. The reader is introduced to three main stereotypes throughout Skull beneath the Skin; the detective, the victim and the murderer/ villain.
The detective in the Shull beneath the Skin Cordelia Gray is typical of the intuitionist text. Cordelia is not perfect but she seems to be morally better than all those around her in particular the occupants of Courcey Island. This particular trait makes her the ‘Goodie’ in the reader’s eyes. She is clever and apt at seeing through the deceptions around her. However she hides this behind a somewhat dithering exterior to make her job at Courcey Island less conspicuous.
Also introduced in the novel is the character of Clarissa Lisle the victim. True to the Intuitionist style Clarissa is immoral and a completely despicable character who the reader cannot like at all. This puts more intrigue into the murder investigation because with such a nasty victim many people could have reason to want her dead. In this case almost everyone on Courcey Island has felt the bitter edge of Clarissa Lisle.

The last major character stereotype that the novel S.B.T.S includes is the murderer/criminal. Generally as the name suggests the criminal is the person who
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