Seminars meet each weekday morning, 09.15-10.45 and 11.15-12.45, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study or exploring the many beautiful places in and around the city.
In our initial discussion we will consider what makes a good crime story and what we expect from one. Then we discuss Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist from 1837 which, despite the musical, is a very interesting and disturbing book: a story of pursuit, crime and detection, as well as a social and psychological study.
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins is one of the most famous of the Sensation novels of the 1860s and is often called the first detective story. In it Collins experiments with ways of telling an mystery without cheating the reader.
A new century brings us to The Innocence of Father Brown by G K Chesterton. Father Brown is overshadowed by his predecessor, Sherlock Holmes, but has a claim to be the greater. We look in detail at a few of the stories and consider the short story’s advantages and disadvantages.
Ruth Rendell is one of the greats. A Judgement in Stone is one of her not-Wexford novels and is unusual as we are told who the killer is from the very beginning so it provides a very different kind of book to discuss.
Our last book is by one of the exciting new crime writers, Cara Hunter. Close to Home is the first of a well-plotted police series that surprises with its twists and which mixes straight narrative with reports, social media etc and which is set in a mainly recognisable real Oxford.
We finish with a review of the week and participants recommendations of books from their own countries.