Part of the beauty of detective literature is the mental engagement and psychological contest it stages between the author and the readers, as well as its fascinating probe into the nature and dynamism of crime. However, of greater import are the formulaic structural elements that define the genre—a crime, the detection of the crime, an omniscient detective who intelligently investigates the crime, and a justified resolution of all. Though the structure of Adaora Ulasi’s The Man from Sagamu does not exactly fit into the above model, it is still a detective novel. Therefore, this essay aims to propose a new typology of detective in the African literary landscape, using the above novel, following its reclassification of the elements axiomatically identified as characterizing features of detective in the Western literary tradition. This will be done by a close reading of Ulasi’s The Man from Sagamu, pointing out how the novel has structurally expanded the scope of exiting detective tradition by evolving different culturally specific characterizing features, that nonetheless coexist with the quintessential features of the detective genre: that a crime is committed, followed by detection with a central question in mind: who did it?
"Extending the Frontiers of the Detective Novel in Adaora Ulasi’s The Man from Sagamu."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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