“Philip Marlowe in drag?” – The construct of the hard-boiled detective in feminist appropriation and translation

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Hard-nosed female investigators Sara Lund and Saga Norén from the extraordinarily successful Scandinavian TV crime series The Killing and The Bridge are the latest examples of female hard-boiled detectives - dysfunctional loners who solve crimes where no one else succeeds. This article looks at the character construct of the hard-boiled male detective, maps these tropes against social expectations of gender norms and then considers how Sara Paretsky constructs an explicitly feminist “tough guy” private eye in V.I. Warshawski. It then analyses how Paretsky’s negotiation and partial subversion of the tropes of the hard-boiled genre are handled in translation, drawing on the German translation of Indemnity Only.

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