Literary Precedents for The Old Contemptibles

Martha Grimes
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In addition to the precedents in The Man with a Load of Mischief (1981; please see separate entry), this novel has literary precedents to which its characters allude. The first is Wilkie Collins's classic mystery novel The Woman in White (1859), the title character of which Jury recalls when he first sees Jane Holdsworth. Jane, wearing a white raincoat in the fog, seems mysterious to Jury, and she remains mysterious to him throughout the brief affair that ends with her death.

The novel is set in England's Lake District and is filled with allusions to the Romantic poets who celebrated its beauty. At the end of the novel, Melrose Plant compares the murderer to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Geraldine in Christabel (1816); Geraldine is the embodiment of evil who destroys the innocence of Christabel.

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This section contains 133 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy The Old Contemptibles Short Guide
Copyrights
Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults
The Old Contemptibles from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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