Shaman or Sherlock?
The Native American Detective
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Fictional depictions of Native American concepts of justice, crime, and the investigation of crime are explored in this original work. Shaman or Sherlock explores depictions created by Native American authors themselves, as well as those created by outsiders with mainstream agendas. The most successful of these writers fuse authentic Native American culture with standard genre conventions, thus providing an appealing, empathetic view of little-understood or underappreciated groups, as well as insight into issues of cross-cultural communication. Dealing with such significant concepts as acculturation, regional diversity, and assimilation, this unique study evaluates over 200 detective stories.
Though the crime novel began in Europe as a manifestation of Enlightenment rationality and scientific methodology, the Native American detective story moves into the realm of the spiritual and intuitive, often incorporating depictions of non-material phenomena. Shaman or Sherlock? explores how geographical and tribal differences, degrees of assimilation, and the evolution of age-old cultural patterns shape the Native American detective story.
- Table of Contents
Two Ways of Knowing: Mainstream and Native American
Native American Crime and Detection Novels: Earth and Spirit Power
The Southwestern Detective Story: A Reflection of the Land
The Southwestern Detective: Shaman or Sherlock?
Shamans and Sherlocks: Unraveling Crime in the Mountains and on the Plains
The Northwest: Shamanistic Horror Infuses Eerie Rain Forests
Alaska and the Canadian Northwest Territories: Wilderness Challenges and Human Limitations
The East Coast and Great Lakes Nations: Modern Reincarnations of Past Glory
Conclusion: The "Indian" in Detective Fiction-- Present Realities and Future Directions
Gina Macdonald (Nichols State Univ.) and Andrew Macdonald (Loyola Univ.) have produced a solid and thorough treatment of Native American detective fiction. Like Kathleen Klein's edited collection Diversity and Detective Fiction (1999) and Stephen Soitos's outstanding The Blues Detective: A Study of African American Detective Fiction (CH, Sep'96), the present study attests to the growing interest in detective fiction as a means of addressing questions surrounding issues of race and gender. Dealing with much more than Tony Hillerman's work, the authors study a vast range of Native American authors by concentrating on regional and tribal variations. Throughout, the contrast is between stories dominated by native spiritualism and shamanistic approaches to detection [and] stories dominated by the more assimilated outlook of ratiocinative detectives.....A sensitive introduction to Native American culture as reflected in detective fiction, this is a book for academic and general readers at all levels.
I have always noted that incorporating supernatural elements into detective fiction can be tricky, but it can be done and ^IShaman or Sherlock?^R has given me much to think about. This book will definitely challenge readers who insist that detection must be based solely on logical, methodical thought...recommended for academic libraries, especially those with popular culture collections.