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How a writer creates successful escapism through characterisation, setting and language - Study. Ian Rankin's "Dead Souls" and P.D. James' "Unnatural Causes." Each book portrays different social classes and settings, and both create powerful images

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Review of Personal Reading Nathan McLennan, 5 Kintyre B Text used: "Unnatural Causes" P.D. James "Dead Souls" Ian Rankin Escapism in the Crime Novel With Reference To Characterisation, Setting and Language In my essay I will look at how a writer creates successful escapism through characterisation, setting and language. I have chose two books to study. Ian Rankin's "Dead Souls" and P.D. James' "Unnatural Causes." Each book portrays different social classes and settings, and both create powerful images. The reader is drawn in by the vividness of both. <quote - IR - characterisation of stereotypical characters> - one industrial sub-urban working class and the other middle-class rural. Introduction - 'Murder' Small introduction here "The blue room had heavy curtain of a rich, faded blue brocade that must have been, Miss Marple, thought, fifty years old. The furniture was mahogany, big and solid, and the bed was a vast mahogany four-poster. Miss Bellever opened the door into a connecting bathroom. This was unexpectedly modern. Orchid in colouring, and with much in dazzling chromium." ...read more.


There were notable text books on medical jurisprudence, and top psychology..." The next minute we encounter him discussing with well-to-do locals about the murder over a roast pork dinner in his home village of Monksmere. 'Motive' In this essay my intention is to trace this change in style within popular crime fiction through the years; using "They Do It With Mirrors" by Agatha Christie, "Unnatural Causes" by P.D. James, and "Dead Souls" by Iain Rankin. Beginning with the theatrical style of class whodunnits', I will look inside the text and decipher what makes it so different from today's crime fiction. The settings Agatha Christie picks are so clinically and visually precise. The descriptions of setting seem to assume the format of a crime report. Like the previous 'blue room' description appearing earlier in this essay. Because of this sound description, an aesthetic base arises, allowing a good foundation for the writer to build a story on. P.D. James later style seems to take a 'cinematographic' slant, balancing images and characterisation differently, but with equal potency. ...read more.


Fluent and formal speech is used to create this 'friendlier' atmosphere by Rankin. It is realistically used, so it helps the reader both feel 'at home', and also this technique helps the realism of the story. Summary Over the years we have seen crime fiction develop. It has moved from theatrical style 'whodunnit' through the mixed, but balanced, visual permanence of James, finally ending up with something by Rankin that looks designed for an addictive and entertaining television series. My favourite of the three books was Rankin's 'Black and Blue.' I was encapsulated by its gritty realism. It transported me to Rebus' domain, where I had to draw on my memory of places and conditions to try and best fit Rebus' world. This is an entirely different type of mental gymnastics. No longer is the average reader prepared to sit down and work out a complex murder. Nowadays, we would rather have our minds enriched with powerful imagery - something James began to create - and be whisked off into Rebus' world of underground scum, where the only shining chrome is the murder weapon found next to the body in a room with fading paint and mouldy wallpaper. 1 ...read more.

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