When I arrived Shimer, there were odd connections between the Shimer curriculum and my reading of murder mysteries. And, this was especially true when it came to the appearance of famous (aka Shimerian) authors in murder mysteries and detective stories. Nietzsche or Freud or Aristotle or Wollstonecraft . . . as detective. So, I knew that some detectives were -- or are -- at least potentially Shimerian.
But: Charlie Bradshaw is not, as far as I know, on the Shimer core curriculum reading list. (Or the faculty.) Nor is Saratoga particularly Shimerian, despite the many many ways that Shimer and upstate New York connect across Shimer's history and throughout its present. Saratoga, though, definitely has a Shimer cast as I have come to understand. And so, in fact, does Charlie Bradshaw.
Here's how I learned that: First, I went into the bookstore with the worst name ever, one I am fond of, in Alberta. So, I learned part of what I had to learn in Canada. Then, I purchased a book because the author's name screamed "Shimer" at me while the genre screamed "peanut book" or, put another way, it screamed "series detective novel." Not serious. Not work.
The book title? Saratoga Snapper. And yes, it is one of a series of Saratoga-based mysteries featuring a former policeman, now . . . well. . . detective . . . . named Charlie Bradshaw. No, the theme of this one is not a kind of turtle called a snapper. Instead, it is all about a photograph taken by a pal of Charlie's -- named Victor -- who exists somewhere in the twilight between sleaze and good guy.
The author? Stephen Dobyns. And yes, Dobyns, according to wikipedia and the voices of Shimerians I know, started his education at Shimer. At Shimer, I had learned about his poetry, which I also had encountered pre-Shimer in an anthology or two. But at the bookstore, I encountered him in a row of mysteries with the word Saratoga in the title.
So: Shimer can in fact accommodate both poet and creator of genre prose in one person! Hurrah! He has, by the way, taught at Sarah Lawrence, the Iowa Writer's Workshop and Warren Wilson College. We are indeed serious and silly, both/and, are we not?
And thus, via the power of syllogism or contiguity or six degrees of separation or something, Charlie Bradshaw might just be a Shimerian.