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Golden Age Detective Fiction Essay

Decent Essays
The anxieties and afflictions of a tragic decade are met with a reactionary response in Golden Age detective fiction. It works as a medium to restore order to a threatened social calm. With its narrative integrity and attempt to establish a universal order governed by reason, Golden Age Detective Fiction functions a medium of refuge from modernism. The detective novel provides a mode of order and stability which is otherwise threatened in the world. The paradigm shift following the aftermath of the Second World War displaces detective fiction from its detachment from contemporary reality and social context. The shift in the medium of Golden Age Detective Fiction can be looked at as a realisation of its own fallibility as a medium of escape.…show more content…
Morse is not the typical detective who is fixated solely on solving the murder. The detective does his job not only as a hobby and passion but also paints the picture of someone who does the job as part of the division of labour in modern capitalist society. Commenting on the decline of the straightforward detective fiction, Martin Priestman writes in his essay on post-war British crime fiction, “By and large, the movement towards greater class-inclusiveness continues, not only by way of the wide range of cases the police are naturally expected to tackle but also because of the genre’s increasingly confident probing of the dynamics of day-to-day workplace relationships.” (178). There is a conscious shift in detective fiction towards police stories post Golden Age and the dynamics of workplaces are shown in a more realistic…show more content…
Unlike the consulting detective of the Golden Age who is more focussed on the mystery that crime brings, Morse cares about bringing the murderer to justice. And unlike the incompetent police detective whose incompetence is the reason an amateur is consulted, Morse is actually competent and efficient in his job. The multiple chapters and insights employed by Dexter in the novel allow the reader to escape the tedious police procedure and dive more into the politics at play which is directly related to the people involved in the case. But the reader is also informed of Morse’s digressions and progress. He tails his suspects, pursues women, falls off ladders, gets drunk, his car is broken and he gets it repaired; Morse may not be characterised as friendly but he is human and Dexter makes sure that the reader catches this as the story progresses. He is unlike the eccentric and almost superhuman detective of the earlier version of the genre who seldom makes mistakes and basks on that superhuman quality and knack for detection and lack of humanly errors. But among all of Morse’s humanly qualities and behaviour, there also lies a brilliant mind not unlike the Golden Age detective. Christopher Bird says about Morse, “Morse may claim to do work
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