Joyce Porter Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Joyce Porter’s ten Inspector Dover novels, four Eddie Brown novels, and five Morrison-Burke novels lampoon the genres of police procedural, international thriller, and private investigator. Although the books generally follow the rules of each genre, the main character in each series is a spoof of the usual hero. Porter delighted in ridiculing pompous human behavior, and she excelled at poking fun at various elements in society as well as at august public institutions. Porter’s novels utilize straightforward crime/spy stories as their backdrop, but her humorous jabs at officiousness provide the reader with an alternative to the standard offerings of the genres.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Barzun, Jacques, and Wendell Hertig Taylor. A Catalogue of Crime. Rev. ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1989. List, with commentary, of the authors’ choices for the best or most influential examples of crime fiction. Porter’s work is included and evaluated.

Huang, Jim, ed. They Died in Vain: Overlooked, Underappreciated, and Forgotten Mystery Novels. Carmel, Ind.: Crum Creek Press, 2002. Porter is among the authors discussed in this book about mystery novels that never found the audience they deserved.

Kemp, Simon. Defective Inspectors: Crime Fiction Pastiche in Late-Twentieth-Century French Literature. London: LEGENDA, 2006. Although devoted to French examples of parodic mystery stories, this study is instructive as to the general methods and strategies employed in Porter’s rather specialized subgenre.

Klein, Kathleen Gregory, ed. Great Women Mystery Writers: Classic to Contemporary. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994. Contains an essay on the life and works of Porter.

Melling, John Kennedy. Murder Done to Death: Parody and Pastiche in Detective Fiction. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1996. Study of British and American detective-fiction parodies, concentrating especially on the intertextual pastiche. Sheds light on Porter’s works.

Norris, Luther. “Crime with a Smile.” The Mystery Readers/Lovers Newsletter 3 (December, 1969): 19-22. Brief overview of Porter’s spoof mysteries discussing their ability to function simultaneously as detective fiction and as parody.

Winn, Dilys. Murder Ink: The Mystery Reader’s Companion. Rev. ed. New York: Workman, 1984. Study of all things relating to the murder mystery, from a reading of specific famous works to a nonfictional history of Scotland Yard to general comments on the conventions of the mystery genre. Contains some discussion of Porter’s work and an essay on professional jealousy by Porter.