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  • Librarian: Marion Frank-Wilson
  • Location: Herman B Wells Library E660
  • Phone: (812) 855-1481
Libraries & Subjects
last updated: 8/7/2012

Guide to the African Crime Fiction Project

The Project:

African Crime Fiction is a growing literary genre with a history dating back to colonialism and the literary trends of the times that has extended into the present day for a variety of reasons, including entertainment, worldwide literary movements, or, as some hypothesize, as a way to understand current events.The goal of this project was to create a bibliography compiling as many works of African Crime Fiction as possible, both from the past and present. Please note that these lists were compiled over the summer of 2011 and should not be taken as comprehensive. At this point there are no plans to update this project in the future.


For the sake of this project, it must be noted that African Crime Fiction refers to crime, detective, and mystery novels that are set in Africa or feature African characters. However, other related sub-genres include legal thrillers and courtroom dramas, and many novels focus not only on the crimes and their detection, but also on criminals and their motives. True crime works and strict political thrillers have been excluded, though true incidents and politics are definitely part of many works of African Crime Fiction. In the context of this project, as with other geographically oriented topics, the use of the term "African" is complex due to the numerous ways that identity can be understood, shaped, and constructed. Consequently, labeling works as "African" is difficult and highly politicized, especially due to tensions wrought by colonialism, immigration, and skin color. For the sake of this project and being as inclusive as possible, all works of crime fiction that are set in Africa or feature African characters, regardless of authorship, are considered to be "African Crime Fiction." Also included are works by African authors that may not be heavily set in Africa or focused on African characters, though many are. Works by Western authors that fit those parameters are considered to be part of the genre.

Locating Materials:

Materials can be located via exploration of two categories:

Author's Nation(s) of Origin

Language of Publication

Further bibliographic information can be found using IUCat, WorldCat, or your local library.


Books and Journal Articles

Asong, Linus. Detective Fiction & the African Scene: From the "Whodunit?" to the "Whydunit?" Mankon, Bamenda: Langaa Research & Publishing CIG, 2012.

Bettinger, Elfi. "Riddles in the Sands of the Kalahari: Detectives at Work in Botswana." Postcolonial Postmortems. Ed. Christine Matzke, and Susanne Mühleisen. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2006. 161-181.

Higginson, Pim. “Mayhem at the Crossroads.” Yale French Studies 108 (2005): 160-176.

Macdonald, Gina. “African Mystery Fiction.” Critical Survey of Detective Fiction. Ed. Carl Rollyson. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 2008. 1957-1962.

Matzke, Christine, and Susanne Mühleisen, eds. Postcolonial Postmortems. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2006.

Mystery Readers Journal. Special Issue: African Mysteries. Volume 26, No. 1, Spring 2010.

Schleh, Eugene. Mysteries of Africa. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1991.

Stanley, Michael. “Michael Stanley’s Top 10 African Crime Novels.” The Guardian. 30 June 2010. Web. <>


African Books Collective. <>

African Writing Magazine. <>

Crime Beat @ Books Live. <>

Crime Write at Book Ex. <>

ImageNations. <>

Krimi Couch. <> (in German)

Prepared by Sarah Keil, August 2011. Updated August 2012.

last updated: 8/7/2012