Elizabeth Linington Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Elizabeth Linington’s novels show uniformity in both style and substance. Although police procedurals usually focus on the issue of good versus evil, Linington emphasized this archetypal conflict to such a degree that it becomes the essence of her work. She called the detective story “the morality play of our time.” The police officer is so much a representative of good in her books that the police officers take on a uniformity of attitude and behavior; they are distinguished from one another only by individual mannerisms and physical characteristics. The other distinguishing characteristic of her work is the large number of cases included in each book. In her early police procedurals, the detectives focus on several cases at once. Later, they focus on large numbers of cases at once.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Axel-Lute, Melanie. Review of Skeletons in the Closet, by Elizabeth Linington. Library Journal 107, no. 15 (September 1, 1982): 1680. This review of a Maddox series novel notes Linington’s contrasting of the intrigue of murder with the humdrum routine of police work.

DeMarr, Mary Jean. “Elizabeth Linington.” In Great Women Mystery Writers, edited by Kathleen Gregory Klein. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994. This alphabetically arranged biographical reference includes a valuable essay on Linington and her impact on mystery and detective fiction.

Knight, Stephen. Crime Fiction, 1800-2000: Detection, Death, Diversity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Devotes a chapter to police procedurals, placing Luis Mendoza in the context of Ed McBain-influenced detective fiction.

Landrum, Larry. American Mystery and Detective Novels. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999. This thoughtful analysis of mystery fiction has several references to Linington or her pseudonyms that place her in the context of a very male genre.

Nichols, Victoria, and Susan Thompson. “Luis Mendoza, LAPD.” In Silk Stalkings. Berkeley, Calif.: Black Lizard, 1988. This brief essay concentrates on Linington’s best-known detective.