Are crime and mystery novels a reflection of the times we live in or an escape? Saint Leo University's Dr. Kathryn Duncan, professor of English, says both are the case.
Duncan is a featured expert in a story by Husna Haq of The Christian Science Monitor, posted June 1, in advance of the new TV show C.B. Strike.
Based on the popular Cormoran Strike novels by author J.K. Rowling, famous for her Harry Potter series, the TV adaptation is a seven-part miniseries airing on Cinemax, beginning June 1. Rowling published the mystery novels under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Duncan has taught The World of Harry Potter course at Saint Leo and led students on a tour of England and Scotland, visiting some of the locations of where the Harry Potter movies were filmed, along with other locations referenced in the series.
The Saint Leo professor also holds a passion for the works of Jane Austen and other 18th century literature.
Duncan cites Austen's stories as an example of novels reflecting the culture, and she believes Rowling's Cormoran Strike novels do the same.
"For example, Jane Austen adaptations, which are hopeful and optimistic with guaranteed happy endings, are most popular
during good economic times whereas the Bronte sisters' Gothic stories are adapted more during tough economic times," Duncan says.
In The Christian Science Monitor, Duncan states, "Stories reflect our culture and help us cope. During a time of fake news and a seemingly endless quest for truth, it makes sense that a genre about truth seeking would be popular and reassuring . . . We psychologically crave closure, and detective fiction gives us this."