Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1874-8767
  • E-ISSN: 1874-8775
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Helen Oyeyemi’s 2011 novel artfully remasters the “Bluebeard” fairytale and its many variants and rewritings, such as and . It is also the first novel in which Oyeyemi does not overtly address blackness or racial identity. However, the present article argues that is concerned with the status of all women writers, including women writers of colour. With , Oyeyemi echoes the assertiveness and inquisitiveness of Bluebeard’s last wife, whose disobedient questioning of Bluebeard’s canonical authority leads her to discover, denounce, and warn other women about his murderous nature. A tale of the deception and manipulation inherent in storytelling, allows for its narrative foul play to be exposed on the condition that its literary victims turn into detective-readers and decipher the hidden clues left behind by the novel’s criminal-authors. This article puts the love triangle between author St. John Fox, muse Mary, and wife Daphne under investigation by associating reading and writing motifs with detective fiction. Oyeyemi’s can thus be exposed as an anthropomorphic metaphor for the power struggle between the patriarchal literary canon, established feminist literature, and up-and-coming (black British) women writers, incarnated respectively by Mr. Fox, Mary Foxe, and Daphne Fox.


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