Continent of Mystery: A Thematic History of Australian Crime Fiction (Melbourne University Press, 1997) is lucidly written in an accessible style which renders complex theoretical arguments comprehensible. It displays the intimate knowledge of the scholarly enthusiast and the clear-eyed scepticism of one who has heard too much nonsenseto take everything at surface value. Knight is however on the trail of a grand theory, offered with modest and provisional authority, about how crime fiction constructs and negotiates vitally important issues of Australian culture, providing ‘a whole history of political domination [and] national and international responses made to it’. On the way he provides information about the publication, distribution and international situation of the Australian popular writer. For the benefit of literary historians he outlines distinctive and even unique Australian narrative preferences; criminal sagas, goldfields (petit bourgeois) mysteries, and stories with ‘zero-detection’ or ‘zero-setting’. Police procedurals (who trusts cops?) and amateur sleuths (too English) have a thin run of it here except, oddly, with women writers.