Tag Archives: Detective fiction

Genres of Literature – Crime Fiction


CFF Logo black no strapline

Crime fiction fictionalizes a multiple of crimes from murder to kidnapping to extortion. The narratives relay how the criminal gets caught, and the repercussions of the crime as well as their detection, the criminals, and their motives. It is usually distinguished from mainstream fiction such as historical fiction or science fiction, however, the boundaries are indistinct. Crime fiction has multiple sub-genres which include detective fiction or whodunits. courtroom dramas, hard-boiled fiction and legal thrillers.  Most crime fiction deals with the crime’s investigation rather than the court room. Suspense and mystery are key elements nearly ubiquitous to the genre. 

Crime Fiction was recognized as a distinct literary genre in the 19th century with specialists writers and a devoted readership. Earlier novels typically did not have the modern systematic attempts at detection: with no detective or indeed police trying to solve the case but rather more mystery in context. Such as a ghost story, a horror story, or a revenge story. The ‘locked room; mystery was a precursor to the detective stories. The most famous of course is Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, whose mental deductions and astute observations led him to the culprits. Two other notable authors in this ‘new’ genre were Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers.  

 

  • Detective fiction
  • Cozy Mystery
  • Whodunit
  • Historical whodunit
  • Locked room whodunit
  • Locked room mystery
  • Police procedural
  • Forensic
  • Legal thriller
  • Spy novel
  • Caper story
  • Psychological thriller
  • Parody or spoof

Each one commonly has a lot of suspense, hidden clues, a charismatic detective and an elusive criminal. The genre continues to develop with character analysis, covering specific themes, LGBT crimes and police investigation themes.

Have you written crime fiction? 

Which sub-genre do you write?

Why not share a link?

 

Whodunnit…Your Genre or Not?


Whodunnit – definition: a narrative dealing with a murder or a series of murders and the detection of the criminal

This is one genre I have not yet delved into but there is always time! As a British native the author who comes to mind for me is, of course, Agatha Christie. She wrote 80 detective novels, which in anyone’s books is a lot. There was a formula to her work but it did not deter hundreds of faithful readers from buying her books as well as inspiring numerous TV series and movies. With numerous ‘red herrings’, twists and turns that kept her readers guessing, Agatha was a master of her genre. It is believed she enjoyed reading the genre so wrote ‘what she knew’ to some extent.

Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Interesting titbit:

The earliest archetype for a whodunnit murder mystery is – “The Three Apples” in the One Thousand and One Nights, but the first ‘true’ whodunnit is widely regarded as – Wilkie Collins‘s The Moonstone (1868).

As most of you know I’m not restricted to one genre, having written children’s fiction, romance, speculative fiction and fantasy. I enjoy exploring the differences each genre possesses. Who knows maybe one will ‘click’ with me and I will find my favored genre – or not! Even Agatha wrote other genres, such as romances under the pen name Mary Westmacott and also the famous long running play, The Mousetrap.

Testing out various genres is a good way to find our true voice as a writer. Some may not appeal of course so don’t waste your time struggling with those. Sometimes an idea grows into a particular genre without us consciously driving it one way or the other – these are the fun ones.

So do you dabble or have you found your niche?