MacArthur’s book shines a light into the dark world of crime fiction to reveal the subversive Gothic element in many of the best known and most loved works of the 20th century… The subheading reads: “Identifying the Gothic Footprint in Modern Crime Fiction”; to say the book succeeds in this aim would be an understatement. MacArthur presents an engaging and wide-ranging survey of Gothic-influenced crime fiction that harkens back to Shelley’s Frankenstein  before embarking on a journey through Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, Robert Bloch’s Psycho and Mo Hayder’s Ritual, to mention only a few…the book is both highly successful and wonderfully complex in its discussion of the debt owed by her chosen works to the Gothic…and…also succeeds in winning a more important cultural battle: that of saving the Gothic from its dissolution and reclaiming it as a specific and valuable tool indispensible to our cultural introspection.

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[The] conjunction of crime fiction and the supernatural has been treated in fascinating recent studies: Sian MacArthur’s Crime and the Gothic (2011)… discuss[es] crime fiction’s underlying affinity with the gothic, analyzing the numerous ways it deploys the structures, language and imagery of supernatural horror and the ghost story. Sian MacArthur discusses, for example, the work of Gerritson, Slaughter and Rankin, amongst others…

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…Sian MacArthur explores the way writers of crime fiction take an adapt features of traditional Gothic fiction and incorporate them into their crime fiction texts. Her links are so deft that it prompted me to scare myself silly reading Robert Bloch’s 1959 novel Psycho…MacArthur shows how the fusion between Gothic and detective fiction combines to produce chilling narratives. She explores the Edinburgh of Inspector Rebus in Ian Rankin’s novels to show the city as a physical metaphor reflecting the mindset of the villain – a chief intent of early Gothic writing – and parallels this with The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Such psychogeography of cities shows pupils that monsters are quite literally lurking in the deepest shadows, and how to craft a suspense-filled piece of writing. Just be careful not to give yourself nightmares.

Julie Greenhough Times Educational Supplement No. 5015. Friday 19th October 2012.

Gothic Science Fiction is a lively, trenchant and intelligent book. With cogent analyses of everything from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to Chrisstopher Nolan’s reinvention of The Dark Knight, Sian MacArthur’s book is a study prodigal in ideas, communicated with enthusiasm. It makes a variety of innovative points about a familiar genre and utilises her thorough knowledge of the field in a provocative fashion.

Barry Forshaw, author of British Gothic Cinema and BFI Classics: The War of the Worlds