Adapting Detective Fiction is a study of specific instances of adaptation, with close readings of both the originating sources and adapted texts. But it is also more than this. It is a study of the politics of representation in the last decades of the twentieth century, and the role television detective fiction plays in this. It is about the mutually-informing interrelation of cultural texts and political rhetoric, about the connection between the popular-cultural depiction of crime and criminality and how we come to understand human behaviour and culpability; most of all, it is a detailed consideration of what the process of adaptation reveals about the shifting nature of the world in which we live. With specific reference to television series such as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Miss Marple. A Touch of Frost Cadfael, and Midsomer Murders Adapting Detective Fiction uses adaptation as the basis for an exercise in later twentieth-century cultural history, illustrating the fundamental role detective fictions play in popular beliefs about the nature of crime and Englishness.
Neil McCaw is Senior Lecturer in English and Creative Writing at the University of Winchester, UK.