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“Last Seen Wearing” (Hillary Waugh) Straightforward depiction of how a good police team solves the murder of a college student, excellent portrayal of the New England college town and of the town-gown relationships.
“In the Heat of the Night” (John Ball) Set in a hot Southern town before desegregation, the plot involves a black detective in a chance encounter with the solving of a murder amidst racial and professional tensions.
“Angle of Attack” (Rex Burns) A Chicano detective in Denver solves the murder of a teenager in a city suffering from the stresses of tensions among various ethnic groups and of urban upheaval.
“The Dark Wind” (Tony Hillerman) A Navajo Tribal detective solves several overlapping mysteries that occurred when the peoples of the reservations came in conflict with the ways of the white world and with other rival Indian tribes.
Class activities relating to details of the novels, the types of crime, dangers of stereotyping, the judicial system, and mystery in everyday life are included, along with suggested additional readings in mystery novels and comment and criticism on the genre.
(Recommended for 9th grade English I; Possible co-operative teaching project with Urban Studies course; and 10th, 11th, and 12th grades English II, III, IV)
Ethnicity American Detective Novel Literature Fiction Reading Instruction