Detective Fiction: English and American Classics

Six Thursdays, October 6, 11, 20, 27, November 3 and 10 12:30 - 2 p.m. | Compass Bank, Second Floor, 2001 Kirby at San Felipe

J. Dennis Huston, a widely acclaimed lecturer and professor of English at Rice University, where he teaches Shakespeare, modern drama, and film, will discuss English and American detective fiction, focusing on examples of each and examining important differences between them.

OCTOBER 6: After an introduction to detective fiction, which was invented by Edgar Allen Poe, we will study two AGATHA CHRISTIE mystery novels, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and The ABC Murders (1936).

OCTOBER 13: When AGATHA CHRISTIE wrote a mystery - The Pale Horse (1961) - that departed from her usual formula, she encountered interesting difficulties, which Huston will describe.

OCTOBER 20: DOROTHY SAYERS's The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928) and Unnatural Death (1927) feature Lord Peter Wimsey, her aristocratic amateur detective. In these two novels we will discover what happens when a traditional form is modified.

OCTOBER 27: DASHIELL HAMMETT, creator of Sam Spade and Nick and Nora Charles, wrote The Glass Key in 1931. We will consider this San Francisco-based story of murder, politics and corruption, which was Hammett's favorite among his own work.

NOVEMBER 3: RAYMOND CHANDLER's Farewell, My Lovely (1940) set in Los Angeles, is a story of theft, ransom, murder, and suicide. Huston will examine this novel, which features Chandler's famous detective, Philip Marlowe.

NOVEMBER 10: ROSS MACDONALD's The Galton Case (1959) and The Wycherly Woman (1961) feature Lew Archer, Macdonald's master private eye. Huston will conclude the series with these novels of death and loss.

We are grateful for the support of Murder by the Book


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Registration for fall 2018 is ongoing. You may register online, by mail, or by phone with a credit card. 


If you are interested in traveling with the Houston Seminar to Natchez October 26-29, 2019 you may access the itinerary, trip cost, and registration documents here.

If you are interested in traveling to Virginia in the spring of 2019, please call the registrar at 713.666.9000 to place your name on a list. Please see Terms and Conditions for "travel list" policy. 


Please note a date in the Mid-term Elections course has changed from that published in the brochure. The course will meet the first two Mondays, October 29 and November 5 as planned, but will meet Tuesday, November 13 instead of Monday, November 12. 


Also note Art Underground: Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Cistern on Wednesday, November 14 is FULLY SUBSCRIBED. A second session has been added and will meet Monday, November 12 from 2:00-3:30 P.M. Registrations are being accepted for November 12. You may register online, or by phone.


Who Gets to Vote: Challenges for the 2020 Elections?
Speaker: Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Voter Rights Project
Monday, November 19, 6:30-8:00 P.M.
Location to be announced


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