One of the most popular true-crime books.
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about true crime books and their place in crime fiction. (You can find it here.)
Over on the CrimeReads blog, Keith Roysdon wrote a very interesting post entitled “A Brief History of the Rise—And Evolution—Of True Crime Books.” Roysdon is a former political journalist, has co-authored three crime-fiction books, and is writing fiction.
“A Brief History” goes into more details about some of the key books and authors in the true-crime genre. As the title suggests, Roysdon explains the changes that has taken place in the genre and how more changes are still taking place. And he gives us some of the major works throughout it’s history.
I recommend this article to get a better appreciation for true-crime books. It, also, shows what a great benefit many of these books have been.
You can get the link to “A Brief History of the Rise—And Evolution—Of True Crime Books” here.
By Tim Suddeth
True crime is a genre of literature that, at first glance, doesn’t seem to belong in a blog about mystery and detective fiction. But its influence on the other fiction genres and its relationship can’t be ignored.
Mankind has always liked telling the gruesome and lurid details of crime. I can picture Og, sitting by the campfire telling his clan the story about a murder, he thinks it was possibly committed by a banshee, that he had heard from his father or uncles. A true crime story contains just the right mixture of information that we might need for protection, yet it appeals to our baser natures.
True crime includes nonfiction literature, film, and podcasts in which the author examines an actual crime and details the activities of real people. It can be a case that is still in the papers, or a cold case that seems to have been forgotten. Often, the story follows the case from the discovery through the investigation and the legal proceedings.
The most important characteristic is that it is true; it actually happened in the way it is depicted, in the people involved, dates, victims, and villains. There may be some dialogue added and some speculations that are admitted, but it is based on unbiased fact. But finding facts without bias is hard to do if not impossible.
Most true crime stories involve murder, even though it makes up less that 20% of all crimes. The idea of actually murdering someone is so hard to believe that we want to get an idea of what drove the person to kill. What were they thinking? And were there signs that we should be aware of? Continue reading
The classical mystery story came to its heyday in the 1920s and 30s. World War I had just ended, and the world was coming through the 1918 flu pandemic that infected a third of the world’s population.
In England, the classic mystery had already been established by Edgar Allen Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The stories showed the reader a very upper society, very proper, with tea being served often. The detective often had a tie to police, but were intellectually superior. They were often given a reluctant acceptance by the local law enforcement officer. Sometimes, the police would call them in because they couldn’t solve the case, but more often the detective burst onto the scene, showing up the helpless officer.
But in America, we saw the emergence of a different type of detective in the hardboiled detective mysteries. In another kind of society, Dashielle Hammett and Raymond Chandler introduced us to the private eye. Often a lone wolf, who tried to dispense his own style of justice in a world with few rules.
[bctt tweet=”The hardboiled American detective was much more cynical than his English counterpart. It wasn’t a game or puzzle to him, but a more personal battle against evil, even of life or death. ” username=”httpstwittercomTimSuddeth”] Continue reading
Black Magic Kitten cover
Mystery fiction is a genre, or category, of fiction that usually involves a murder or crime. Within the category of mysteries are a number of evolving and developing genres bridging true crime, fiction, supernatural, paranormal and others. One of the fun things for a writer is to discover new ways to expand the envelop of a genre, although this may not be so comfortable to the reader.
One of the most popular genres in mystery fiction is what are known as cozy mysteries, or cozies. I have to admit, this is one of my favorite genres.
So many books to get to.
Every year, over 650 million books in print are sold. So, how can you find a book similar to the one you just enjoyed? If you have ever tried to find a book in a brick-and-mortar bookstore, you know what an impossible task it seems as you glaze at the rows and rows of bookshelves. Most of them spine out, which is a pet peeve of mine. Even after you learn where the mystery/suspense section is, you are still looking at a large section of the store. And that isn’t even talking about shopping on Amazon, where you can’t even see how the books grouped together.
Say, I like the The Cat Who books, but I’ve read them all and I want someone a little different. What should I do? Continue reading