Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Creative Writing and Publishing

First Advisor

Robin Hemley

Committee Chair and Members

Robin Hemley, Chair

Tim Horvath


Detective, Fantasy, Female protagonist, Mystery, Noir, Psychological


My creative fiction thesis, Zara and the Strong Gauntlets, is the first part of a full length novel in the fantasy genre. The story follows Zara, a servant to a high member of society which she spends every day serving. Zara’s world is turned upside down when she walks into her master’s assassination. Zara is tossed out of her home, and with nowhere left to turn, tries to find a way to be able to stand up on her own two feet, and through her trials, discover a sense of self that will determine her new path in life.

After this story, there is a critical essay called “What’s in a Detective Novel?” Here, I present a discussion of the detective character and how they have been interpreted through the first half of the twentieth century, invoking both the works and essays of detective fiction writers such as Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane and S. S. Van Dyne. The essay investigates the guise of the detective character, and how stories that share the same iconic aesthetics and moods can vary so differently to each other.