Borders and Detective Fiction

deadline for submissions: 
November 1, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Manina Jones, University of Western Ontario
contact email: 

Borders and Detective Fiction (Theme Issue of Clues: A Journal of Detection)
Guest Editor: Manina Jones, University of Western Ontario

For this theme issue of Clues, proposals are sought from a wide variety of critical, national, and cultural perspectives addressing how and why borders are represented in detective fiction, film, television, or other media (e.g., computer games, graphic novels, radio drama, podcasts). As David Newman and Anssi Paasi argue, “The construction of boundaries at all scales and dimensions takes place through narrativity.” Thus, it makes sense to turn to the detective story, a genre whose plots conceptualize issues of morality, legality, security, and transgression to understand the ways in which borders are conceptualized and mediated. Crossing borders can signify openness, mobility, cultural exchange, and cooperation. But the border can also be a site of surveillance, discipline, risk, exclusion, and violence, a place where geographic, cultural, economic, and bodily integrity are rendered vulnerable. It can, in short, be the scene of (the) crime. How do imaginative narratives across the diverse range of historical and contemporary crime fiction constitute investigations of defined, dynamic, and/or developing border spaces?

Suggested topics:

  • Detective fiction and migrancy/refugees 

  • Ecological crime across border lines 

  • Colonial borders and Indigenous territory in crime fiction 

  • Detective fiction and international relations 

  • National and racial boundaries in crime fiction 

  • Crime fiction and border (in)security and surveillance 

  • Interjurisdictional law enforcement 

  • Borders and international travel in detective fiction 

  • Globalization and/as crime 

  • Historically unstable and redefined borders in crime fiction 

  • The detective as border-crosser or border defender 

  • Detective fiction and borderland cultures 

  • Transnational crimes (e.g., trafficking in humans, drugs, arms) 

  • Crime writers and multiple citizenships 

  • Borders and gender/sexuality in detective fiction

Submissions should include a proposal of 250­–300 words and a brief biosketch. Proposals due: November 1, 2021. Submit proposals to: Prof. Manina Jones, Dept. of English and Writing Studies, University of Western Ontario, email: Full manuscripts of approximately 3,300 to 6,000 words based on an accepted proposal will be due in February 2022.

About Clues: Published biannually by McFarland & Co., the peer-reviewed Clues: A Journal of Detection features academic articles on all aspects of mystery and detective material in print, television, and film without limit to period or country covered. It also reviews nonfiction mystery works (biographies, reference works, and the like) and materials applicable to classroom use (such as films). Executive Editor: Caroline Reitz, John Jay College/The CUNY Graduate Center; Managing Editor: Elizabeth Foxwell, Clues Web site: