Annal: 2007 Edgar Allan Poe Award® for Best Critical/Biographical Work

Results of the Edgar Allan Poe Award® in the year 2007.

Book:The Science of Sherlock Holmes

The Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear, the Real Forensics Behind the Great Detective's Greatest Cases

E.J. Wagner

From autopsies to zoology, how Holmes eliminated the impossible

This unique book uses the legendary adventures of Sherlock Holmes as a jumping-off point to discuss the growth of forensic science during the Victorian era. The book explores the emergence of science from superstition, how forensic autopsies evolved from anatomical dissection, the huge advances in blood chemistry and poison detection, and the early use of fingerprints, photography and trace evidence. It also provides new insights into landmark criminal cases that influenced the forensic world, such as Jack the Ripper and Lizzie Borden, and includes rare period illustrations.

E. J. Wagner (Stony Brook, NY) is a crime historian and lecturer who specializes in forensic roles. She is the organizer and moderator of the annual Forensic Forum at the Museum of Long Island Natural Sciences, SUNY Stony Brook. Her work has been published in the New York Times and the Lancet.

Book:Unless the Threat of Death is Behind Them

Unless the Threat of Death is Behind Them: Hard-Boiled Fiction and Film Noir

John T. Irwin

Early in the twentieth century a new character type emerged in the crime novels of American writers such as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler: the “hard-boiled” detective, most famously exemplified by Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon. Unlike the analytical detectives of nineteenth-century fiction, such as Edgar Allan Poe’s Inspector Dupin, the new detectives encountered cases not as intricate logical puzzles but as stark challenges of manhood. In the stories of these characters and their criminal opposites, John T. Irwin explores the tension within ideas of American masculinity between subordination and independence and, for the man who becomes “his own boss,” the conflict between professional codes and personal desires. He shows how, within different works of hard-boiled fiction, the professional either overcomes the personal or is overcome by it, ending in ruinous relationships or in solitary integrity, and how within the genre all notions of manly independence are ultimately revealed to be…[more]

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