Reflections on the Detective Novel as an Allegory of Contemporary Kenya
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Conference Dates: 
Thu, 2015-08-20 - Sat, 2015-08-22

The detective novel has for a long time been seen as a popular genre, often supposedly read for entertainment as opposed to its concern with ‘serious’ issues about society. This paper reads Richard Crompton’s detective novels to examine the value of the detective/crime thriller in Kenya today. Crompton’s The Honey Guide (2013) and Hell’s Gate (2014) seek to show that the Kenyan national body is ailing because of (moral) corruption. We argue that the detective novel in Kenya is a profound commentary, a moral fable and a critique of certain socio-economic, political and cultural realities of the society today and that the corruption of the Kenyan body is a consequence of both local and international forces such as the circulation of what I would term ‘crimescapes.’