The Mystery of Mysteries: Cultural Differences and Designs by Tony Hillerman

Bestselling and award-winning author Tony Hillerman brings to life the Southwest and the Navajo culture in his mystery series featuring Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn.

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The Mystery of Mysteries: Cultural Differences and Designs by Tony Hillerman


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About the Author
Sam Coale, who has been teaching American literature and culture at Wheaton College in Massa-chusetts since 1968 and is the A. Howard Meneely Professor of English, is the author of In Hawthorne’s Shadow: American Romance from Melville to Mailer (1985), William Styron Revisited (1991), Paul Theroux (1987), Anthony Burgess (1981) and John Cheever (1977). His latest work, Mesmerism and Hawthorne: Medi-ums of American Romance (1998), deals with mesmerism as a structural principle in Hawthorne’s dark romances. He has also written many articles on such writers as Joan Didion, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Frost, Jerzy Kosinski, Joyce Carol Oates and William Faulkner.

A recipient of Fulbright awards, an NEH Fellowship, and USIA grants, he has taught and lectured in Brazil, Belarus, Poland, India, the Czech Republic, Pakistan, Sweden, Greece and England. He is a book reviewer for the Providence Journal and a theatre reviewer and feature writer for the East Side Monthly.

He is currently at work on a book about conspiracy in American culture and contemporary fiction and lives in Providence, RI, with his wife, son, and basset.

Book Description
Four American mystery writers have contributed new dimensions to the mystery form. Tony Hillerman’s Navajos and their customs, Amanda Cross’ (Carolyn Heilbrun’s) academ-ics and their feminist credentials (or lack thereof), James Lee Burke’s Southern Louisiana Cajuns and his own fiercely moral “take” on Southern gothic fiction, and Walter Mosley’s urban blacks and their close-knit culture have challenged the conventional mystery’s focus.

Using feminist and black critical theory, mythic and historical patterns, and literary genre theory, Samuel Coale examines their works and investigates the compromises that each is forced to make when working within a recognizably popular literary form.

Coale has also included interviews with these writers who respond to these issues and reveal how they create their plots, characters, and cultural and social conflicts. In doing so, they also reveal how they have re-energized the mystery form and brought new and controversial ideas and topics into popular literature.

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