Elaine Goodey

Elaine Goodey

Department of English Literature
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: The publications of police detectives 1880 - 1930: Genre, identity and the consumption of crime
SupervisorsDr Rex Ferguson, Dr Melissa Dickson and Dr Victoria Stewart (University of Leicester)

PhD English Literature


  • BA English (University of Birmingham)
  • MA English: 1850-Present (King’s College, London)


I studied for my BA in English at the University of Birmingham from 2010-13. My dissertation was supervised by Prof. Hugh Adlington and explored the tension between Jewish and British identities the novels of Grace Aguilar and Amy Levy.

I completed my MA English: 1850-Present (Part-Time) at King’s College, London from 2017-19. My thesis was supervised by Professor Mark Turner and focussed on three texts published by retired detectives, formerly of the Metropolitan Police.

From 2013-2019 I worked as an accountant for various businesses in the City of London (either full-time, or part-time during my MA studies), before returning to academia full-time.


I examine the little-known texts published by retired police detectives between 1880-1930. These texts offer a blend of genres beyond autobiography and encompass advice to readers on crime prevention, social commentary and biographies of the criminals they investigated.

Specifically, I explore:

  • how the texts shape our understanding of crime literature as entertainment,
  • the relationship between fiction and autobiography in the texts,
  • the authors’ objections to the detectives depicted in contemporary crime fiction, and
  • how the detectives obscure their own individuality by identifying themselves as part of the police institution.

Other activities

  • Member of the Victorian Popular Fiction Association and the British Association for Victorian Studies
  • Book Reviews Editor for Ad Alta: The Birmingham Journal of Literature 2020-21