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When I am Laid in Earth: a novel, and critical commentary investigating ‘Evocations of the Gothic: Creating “The Great Wrong Place’ and Material Evidence in Contemporary Crime Fiction

Harlow, Nicky (2019). When I am Laid in Earth: a novel, and critical commentary investigating ‘Evocations of the Gothic: Creating “The Great Wrong Place’ and Material Evidence in Contemporary Crime Fiction. PhD thesis The Open University.

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Abstract

The thesis is in two parts: Creative Writing (a novel) plus a Critical Commentary. The novel is an illustrated crime thriller with three male protagonists. In 2016, historical novelist, Cathy Adams is murdered at her isolated home; in 1851, twenty-five indentured mill girls disappear without trace. How these events are linked is revealed through the documents and images illustrating the text; the reader is encouraged to become detective. Set in an isolated West Yorkshire mill town, the story follows the lives of the three men in Cathy’s life - her son, ex-husband and her father-in-law - as they seek their versions of the truth. This is a novel of palimpsests, about the rewriting of history and the evidence that the dead leave behind.

The critical commentary is split into the four main areas explored through the writing process: establishing the key lineage of Domestic Noir in relation to Sensation Fiction and the use of Gothic tropes in the modern cultural setting; the creation of landscape and domestic settings with their own narratives, and finally, the nature, revelation and interpretation of material evidence in crime fiction.

The original contribution to knowledge in the creative work lies in the clues presented in the narrative and the included digital images; these give the female victim agency and reveal otherwise unexplored aspects of the male characters’ lives.

In the Commentary, original contribution is found in the critical and personal examination of the importance of landscape and the ‘Great Wrong Place’ to crime fiction; it also offers new insights into the relationships between evidence, narrative, image and text in the digital age.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: 2018 The Author
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities > English & Creative Writing
Item ID: 61234
Depositing User: Nicola Anne Harlow
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2019 13:51
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2019 13:06
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/61234
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