Crime fiction is growing in popularity around the world, and the recent burst of Scandinavian crime fiction on the bestseller lists is yet another marker of that growth. So it only makes sense that the academic world is taking notice, spearheaded in Europe by the International Crime Fiction Group based at Queen’s University of Belfast. The group brings together scholars from disciplines such as literature, film studies and cultural history in a series of initiatives to study various aspect of the genre.
Recently, they sponsored a symposium at the British Library titled "Towards a Digital Atlas of European Crime Fiction?", investigating how to harvest the catalogs of the 48 European national libraries to analyze the transnational spread of crime fiction (including books, covers, authors, films, etc.) with the help of maps and graphs. Hopefully, this will not only help the libraries involved create virtual as well as physical exhibitions based on their collections, including book covers and illustrations, it will benefit crime fiction authors, too, thanks to online resources coming soon.
There's already a strong scholarly crime fiction presence in Europe, including such institutions as the Library of Crime Literature (Bilipo) a Parisian public library exclusively concerned with crime-themed publications (which journalist Brad Spurgeon discusses in this blog post). And, if you happen to be in London early this summer, check out the London exhibition "Forensics: The anatomy of crime" at the Wellcome Collection through June 21.