Better Lock the Door

Tag: Wilkie Collins

Legal Thrillers

The legal thriller is one of my favorite genres of crime fiction. Legal thrillers let me into the world of courtrooms, suits, lawyers, paralegals, and their innocent, not so innocent, and some down-right shady clients. It’s in the legal thriller that we get a chance to see the justice system at work. The newspaper can tell us what happened. A legal thriller can tell us the stories and characters behind the possible headline. Allegedly.

The authors set many of their legal thrillers in a courtroom. They take a case after the police or investigators have completed their work and then we watch them take it through court. Often, it’s when the case is being tried that new evidence comes up. Think of the lawyer in the light-gray suit, Matlock.

But showing the courtroom isn’t necessary. In Marcia Clark’s Guilt by Association, Los Angeles D. A. Rachel Knight is a prosecutor who becomes involved in her colleague’s murder. We don’t see her take the case to trial, but we do watch as she investigates and interacts with the people involved. Continue reading

Police Procedurals

“Just the facts, Ma’am.” Joe Friday delivered this line in his flat, robotic tone every week on the TV series, Dragnet. Dragnet aired two different times, once from 1951-1959 and then in 1967-1970. Detective Joe Friday of the Los Angeles Police Department was played by Jack Webb, who was also the producer.

Dragnet, and the similar show Adam-12,  are great examples of one of the more popular genres in mystery,  the police procedural. These books and shows centered on the work of the police, usually focusing on one individual but highlighting more their time on the job and working with others in the department than on the person’s personal life. It is the life and environment of a police officer that the reader is interested in, rather than an individual. Although how much this is carried out varied with the series.

Although cop shows have been common on TV, even today, I want to focus on the novels and their authors. Continue reading

© 2022 Opening A Mystery

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑