Helen Macallan is a Senior Lecturer in Film and Media at the University of Newcastle, where she teaches a course on the horror genre. Jane Goodall is Associate Professor in the School of Contemporary Arts at the University of Western Sydney with interests in cultural history and the history of science. Her recent books are Performance and Evolution in tbe Age of Darwin (Routledge, 2002) and The Walker (Hodder Headline, 2004), which was the Women's Weekly 'Great Read' for March 2OO4 and joint winner of the Ned Kelly Award for best first crime novel. This exchange grew out of a series of conversations about the prevalence of crime writing, over several long lazy Sunday lunches, defying the pressures of academic life. Both read Tzvetan Todorov's essay on detective fiction in The Poetics of Prose (Blackwell' 1977) as a starting point for their discussion.