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The ‘perfect murder’?: Dorothy L. Sayers, Superintendent George Cornish and Six Against the Yard (1936)

The ‘perfect murder’?: Dorothy L. Sayers, Superintendent George Cornish and Six Against the Yard... This paper explores the rich and multifaceted interplay between retired Scotland Yard Superintendent George W. Cornish and a distinguished group of crime novelists, in the 1936 Detection Club collection of short stories, Six Against the Yard. Tasked with adjudicating on which of the six novelists has devised the ‘perfect murder’, Cornish engages in a deeper mode of dialogue than the Club appear to have anticipated. The paper shows how Cornish’s contributions to the text draw on his own experiences of crime and crime writing, as made evident in his own recently published memoirs Cornish of the Yard (1935). Bringing these experiences to bear on the stories with which he is presented, Cornish takes licence to unravel the novelists’ pursuit of the ‘perfect murder’. This close reading of Six Against the Yard, informed by Bakhtinian theory, reveals the striking extent to which Cornish is prepared to dispute the writers’ assumptions, challenge their conclusions, and ultimately refute their conception of the ‘perfect murder’. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Crime Fiction Studies Edinburgh University Press

The ‘perfect murder’?: Dorothy L. Sayers, Superintendent George Cornish and Six Against the Yard (1936)

Crime Fiction Studies , Volume 3 (2): 18 – Sep 1, 2022

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2517-7982
eISSN
2517-7990
DOI
10.3366/cfs.2022.0069
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper explores the rich and multifaceted interplay between retired Scotland Yard Superintendent George W. Cornish and a distinguished group of crime novelists, in the 1936 Detection Club collection of short stories, Six Against the Yard. Tasked with adjudicating on which of the six novelists has devised the ‘perfect murder’, Cornish engages in a deeper mode of dialogue than the Club appear to have anticipated. The paper shows how Cornish’s contributions to the text draw on his own experiences of crime and crime writing, as made evident in his own recently published memoirs Cornish of the Yard (1935). Bringing these experiences to bear on the stories with which he is presented, Cornish takes licence to unravel the novelists’ pursuit of the ‘perfect murder’. This close reading of Six Against the Yard, informed by Bakhtinian theory, reveals the striking extent to which Cornish is prepared to dispute the writers’ assumptions, challenge their conclusions, and ultimately refute their conception of the ‘perfect murder’.

Journal

Crime Fiction StudiesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2022

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