Theology in suspense : how the detective fiction of P.D. James provokes theological thought
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The following dissertation argues that the detective fiction of P.D. James provokes her readers to think theologically. I present evidence from the body of James’s work, including her detective fiction that features the Detective Adam Dalgliesh, as well as her other novels, autobiography, and non-fiction work. I also present a brief history of detective fiction. This history provides the reader with a better understanding of how P.D James is influenced by the detective genre as well as how she stands apart from the genre’s traditions. This dissertation relies on an interview that I conducted with P.D. James in November, 2008. During the interview, I asked James how Christianity has influenced her detective fiction and her responses greatly contribute to this dissertation. However, James’s novels should be interpreted and explored in the manner that they are received by the reader. How the reader receives and responds to the novels, not only how James writes the novels, is what causes her stories to provoke theological thinking. By examining Christian symbolism that is present in setting, character, the Detective Adam Dalgliesh, and plot, this dissertation seeks to assert that James contributes to a theological conversation through her popular detective fiction.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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