Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in English



First Committee Member

Felicia Campbell

Second Committee Member

Donald Revell

Third Committee Member

Joseph McCullough

Fourth Committee Member

Michael Pravica

Fifth Committee Member

Kathryn H. Korgan

Number of Pages



This dissertation merges creative writing with scholarship using the novel, The Dakini Project, to provide the subject matter to which the criticism applies. It will focus on the source of mystery format as that codified by Edgar Allan Poe that is later taken in hand by his fellows Arthur Conan Doyle, Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett (as novelists), authors of the hard-boiled American style, and it will use Chaos theory to assess to idea of catastrophe in terms of emergence rather than disintegration. Though the format comes from American beginnings, the scope of the stories discussed here are tangled around a kind of urban angst that takes place in any number of settings and countries. Crime in these stories is born on the ragged edge of modernity where societies in difficult transitions seem to be struggling with the notion of decency on many levels. The detective in these cases is a rule breaker and a systems expert who is tracking what is known as the "butterfly" effect, the small and undefined movements that grow and create the huge horrible storms. He is an individual who resolves, brings and rescues others from disorder which is a symptom, cause, and the result of crises, but he is also the disaster maker who will send his fellows whirling away into another kind of lost space. An individual who is himself a creature in disarray, this character is a citizen of the system brought to its knees by crime therefore he is as much a part of the confusion he has been tasked with resolving as any other character in these stories. He will solve the mystery, but his resolution will not be a return to a familiar stability as much as an emergence into the foreign territory of a brand new system which in itself will be recognizable as a platform that will not hold for very long because flux, not stability is the order of existence in these stories.


Buddhism; Causation; Chaotic behavior in systems; Ḍākinī (Buddhist deity); Detective and mystery stories


American Literature | Arts and Humanities | Comparative Literature

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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