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This article combines a general introduction to the crime fi ction of Walery Przyborowski with a study of the structure of the plot of his novels. The analyses of ten of his novels conclude with a typology of their narrative schemes, shown in the context of certain invariant patterns and the conventions of related literary genres. While the main objective of this study is to outline the structure of crime story and the social issues depicted in Przyborowski’s crime fi ction, it also pays some attention to the ways in which it refl ects his concerns about contemporary life and the condition of Poland under foreign rule. Basically, Przyborowski’s formula is to make use of the staples of the genre – mystery, adventure, romance – and the techniques of the popular novel. Moreover, his novels, like all of the 19th-century crime fi ctions, are clearly indebted to the conventions of the historical novel.
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