Tuesday, May 01, 2018

“Readers of the World Unite”

This being May 1—May Day, an occasion to celebrate workers and political engagement as well as the arrival of spring—it’s only fitting that CrimeReads should post a piece titled “Radical Noir: 26 Activist Crime Novels.” As associate editor Molly Odintz explains, “we’ve assembled a list of our favorite activist mysteries, organized by kind of activism—from revolutionaries to labor organizers to activists both political and environmental.” She goes on to write:
From the earliest days of mysteries and thrilling tales, activists have played a role. Not, until more recently, a positive role, but a role nonetheless. In G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, a search for anarchists suspected of a bombing drives the plot, and in Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent, a political policeman infiltrates a revolutionary cell. The Soviets played well-worn roles throughout Cold War spy fiction, sometimes rendered with nuance, sometimes in extremes, but in general, with complete disregard for any actual political beliefs. At the same time, crime fiction became increasingly sympathetic to the cause of the revolutionary, the activist, the labor organizer, and the environmental campaigner.
Included among the authors Odintz covers are Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Gary Phillips, Eva Dolan, Leonardo Padura, Gordon DeMarco, Attica Locke, John le Carré, Walter Mosley, and Edward Abbey.

* * *

Meanwhile, Mystery Fanfare offers an expanded tally of May Day Mysteries, together with Morris Dancing Mysteries—the latter incorporating a form of English folk dance that has historically been linked to May Day celebrations.

No comments: