This one-semester course will explore the origins and evolution of the detective fiction genre primarily in the British and American tradition from the nineteenth century to the present. The course will begin with the detective tales of Edgar Allen Poe and the Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; students will then read works from the British Golden Age, move on to the American hard-boiled tradition, and then conclude with contemporary detective stories. Among the themes students will examine — through narrative conventions and devices — are the ways detective fiction reflects and challenges cultural values about gender, race, sexuality and class. The course will also give students the opportunity to examine the adaptations of and experiments with the form over time. Students should expect to be evaluated on participation, formal and informal writing, quizzes, tests, and a semester exam. There may also be projects and/or presentations.