Smoking in Arcadia, or Barry Maitland’s embodied folly: Re-opening the case of The Malcontenta | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2045-5852
  • E-ISSN: 2045-5860



This article reveals the multilayered structure of Barry Maitland’s second Brock and Kolla mystery, The Malcontenta (1995). In particular, it will be shown how the concept of hospitality is reflexively staged, as is the concept of the novel’s paratextual skin and sub-dermal liminal zones, in order to set up any number of border crossings and transgressions. To this end, the work of the Yale School of deconstructionists is used to demonstrate how each border crossing suggests an alternative reading of the text. Multiple instances of mise en abyme will be exposed as, respectively, the authority of detective, author and reader is challenged. Certain red herrings will be elevated to the status of alternate solutions and, finally, a suggested alternate murderer will be installed from outside the more obvious candidates on offer.


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