Queer Readings of Crime Fiction
The Importance of Genre
This article circumscribes the main characteristics of existing queer crime ction scholarship, and then explores the impact of literary genre in a queer reading of crime novels. An analysis of Arnaldur Indridason’s novel Bettý (2011), Brigitte Aubert’s thriller Une âme de trop (2006), and Pierre Lemaitre’s noir novels Cadres noirs (2010) and Alex (2013) demonstrates the extent to which genre conventions such as surprise and suspense can support or obstruct anti-normative representations of queer characters and phenomena. It is shown that the decoding of queer sexuality and gender is easily inscribed within a crime narrative but that this does not always entail a queer subversive perspective. The transgender gure placed at the centre of Aubert’s novel invites little discussion of non-normative gender or sexuality because of how the plot is structured, whereas the lesbian narrator and main character in Indridason’s story vehicles a strong critical message about heteronormative society and celebrates queer love. Open-endedness or ambiguous closures (Stewart 2014) are instrumental in expressing queerness in the crime genre, while they are also typical of certain kinds of non-queer socio-political crime novels. Lemaitre’s both novels combine anti-capitalist social critique with a defence of marginalised social groups, including women, children, and the poor.