I posted a piece about the Great American Novel over on Poe's Deadly Daughters
this week. It ended with a call to readers to nominate their choices for the Great American Mystery. As I said over there:
What could be more American than Laura Lippman's Baltimore, Margaret Maron's North Carolina, Dana Stabenow's Alaska, and Nevada Barr's National Parks? And few dispute that the private eye novel is an American form of the genre.
Rereading this, it occurs to me that "few" is the wrong word. Are there any dissenters at all? There are
British private eye novels: P.D. James's An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
springs to mind. But the rugged individualism and social mobility that makes characters not just American, but Great American (ie quintessentially American) is imho a hallmark of the fictional PI.
I invited DorothyLers to comment on the Poe's Deadly Daughters post, because I wanted to focus on mystery rather than crime fiction to avoid bias in favor of the dark side. But now I'm asking CrimeSpacers. And let's broaden the question:
What is your definition
of the Great American Mystery? And what's your pick?