ENGL260 Special Topic: Tartan Noir: Scottish Crime Fiction

Note: This information is for 2014, and may have been updated since the Guide to Enrolment was printed.

Title Special Topic: Tartan Noir: Scottish Crime Fiction
Code ENGL260
Subject English
Points 18 points
Teaching Period(s) First semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZ$) 779.70
International Tuition Fees (NZ$) 3,307.50


Prerequisite: One 100-level ENGL paper (excluding ENGL 126) or 36 points

Schedule C: Arts and Music


Scottish writers have made a significant contribution to the development of crime fiction, helping to establish the genre in the late nineteenth century and becoming some of its most globally popular exponents in the twenty-first. This paper explores the long tradition of ‘tartan noir’, from forerunners like Walter Scott through the ‘classic’ crime fiction of Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle to the contemporary thrillers of Ian Rankin and Val McDermid. Topics of discussion will include: the character of the detective hero; the role of crime fiction in the construction of national identity; and writing the city in Scottish crime fiction.


Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles
John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps
Ian Fleming, Casino Royale
Muriel Spark, The Driver’s Seat
Ian Rankin, Black & Blue
Iain Banks, Complicity
Louise Welsh, The Cutting Room

In addition to these texts, the Course Reader (available from the Print Shop) includes Walter Scott’s ‘The Two Drovers’, Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’, and several Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.


Coordinator and Lecturer

Professor Liam McIlvanney



Location Dunedin
Lecture Mon : 12:00-13:50
Tutorial Times to be arranged