Feb. 22, 2023: A Nicer Kind of Murder


The Evolution of Crime Fiction

Please note:  video removed from website per agreement with the speaker.

To view the list of recommended mysteries complied by the speaker, click here.

Murder isn’t what it used to be. Explore the shifting role of the victim in detective novels, and how that shift reflects broader social changes.

From Poe and Sherlock Homes to British cozies and Hardboiled pulps, author Matthew Sullivan traces the many influences on the postwar and modern eras of the mystery genre and shows how empathy plays a unique role in contemporary crime novels—especially in today’s literary mysteries. Jess Walter’s Cold Millions, the Whatcom Reads novel, is one of the books Sullivan will discuss.

What does the way crime victims are portrayed say about a society’s culture? Join Sullivan to reflect on the special relationship between reading literature and experiencing empathy—on the page and in our daily lives.

Jess Walter’s Cold Millions, the Whatcom Reads selection for 2023, is one of the books Sullivan will discuss.  (www.whatcomreads.org)

Matthew Sullivan (he/him) is the author of the novel Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, which was an IndieNext pick, a Barnes & Noble Discover pick, and winner of the Colorado Book Award. His essays and stories have appeared in the New York Times, Daily Beast, Spokesman-Review, Sou’wester, and elsewhere. He is currently a writing teacher and is working on a crime novel set in Soap Lake.  Sullivan lives in Anacortes.

This program is brought to you by:

Humanities Washington