mandag den 18. april 2011

O is for Order

- for the alphabet in crime meme -

I know that several of you agree with me that engaging, credible characters are what make you read one volume after the other year after year once you have stumbled on a new crime series.

Now there are different crime genres, but have you thought about the similarities between the structure of a traditional crime novel and a Renaissance drama?

A serious crime takes place, most often a murder, and the structured, predictable world of the bereaved falls apart. The police or detectives appear on stage, and over a couple of hundred pages they solve the crime. Order is restored, the relatives achieve a feeling of closure, and the reader can relax in her comfortable armchair.

Which genre do you prefer? The traditional (conservative) mystery or the darker thriller which may seem more realistic, and where you don´t quite know which kind of ending to expect?

Personally, I like varying my reading, but I don´t necessarily buy the idea that modern, fast-paced crime novels convey a more real picture of our society. The darker setting and the brutality may be true of many places of the world, but not the tendency to escalate the number of bodies or the spectacular endings that are in vogue nowadays. Crime fiction is just fiction, a few hours of entertainment or escapism, and though some questions may be left open, I am sure most readers want to know who, how and why.

13 kommentarer:

Bernadette sagde ...

I like a mixture too. I sometimes want nothing more than to have a traditional crime story where everything gets wrapped up neatly and as you say order is restored. I know this doesn't always happen in real life but surely that is part of the point of reading fiction - to get something you don't get in real life. That said I also have come to appreciate the darker tales - where there aren't always neat endings (e.g. Ken Bruen, George Pelecanos) - though I stay away from the ones that pile up the bodies just for the sake of it. To me they are the equivalent of a Hollywood action thriller and I'm really not interested in those

Maxine Clarke sagde ...

Like you, I like to vary my reading, though in my experience thrillers can be very predictable. Michael Connelly's latest (the Fifth Witness) combined a solid courtroom drama theme (the plot could have been written 50 years ago) with a contemporary twist, which I like. A recent thriller I read which was fast-paced but engaging until very near the end was 66 degrees north by Michael Ridpath. Interestingly, many of the books eligible for the Int Dagger this year are not at all fast-paced, which makes me wonder if translated fiction is somehow different from eng lan typical "bestsellers", or if the translation process provides a filter, ie books that actual readers enjoyed, hence sold well and got translated (high economic risk activity). But again, there were some thrillers in there eg The Hypnotist, that were kind of superficial. So, hard to generalise.

BooksPlease sagde ...

Like you I like variety, but I prefer the 'why'type of crime fiction to lots of dead bodies all over the place. I'm not keen on too much blood and gore.

Kerrie sagde ...

I like a mixture too, but I think police procedurals may be my choice

Anonym sagde ...

Dorte - A great choice for "O!" You make a good point, too, about about the kind of novels people want. As for me, I read a variety and it's nice to have that variety. But my preference is definitely for books where there is a sense of order and where we do find out about the "who" and the "why."

Mason Canyon sagde ...

I like the mix too. I think I enjoy both more if I go back and forth between them then I don't get burnt out, so to speak, on one certain type.

Thoughts in Progress

Unknown sagde ...

I like both. I don't think I could just read one or the other. However, I'm half done your Candied Crime and I love it. I will do a review soon.

Dorte H sagde ...

Bernadette: agreed; there is enough real life in real life!

Maxine: of course novels go through some kind of filter before they are translated, but in some cases it seems it is more of a popularity filter than a quality filter, e.g. The Hypnotist. Recently, English publishers have bought some good Danish series, though, some of those with proper plots.

Margaret: I know. Blood doesn´t put me off if the plot justifies it, but when it is just added because the writer has nothing else to offer, I object to it.

Kerrie: police procedurals are great!

Margot: murder will out! ;)

Mason: a varied diet is supposed to be healthy.

Clarissa: arh, I am glad that you appreciate humorous crime. Thank you!

Kelly sagde ...

I like a variety: Police Procedurals, cozies, and even those that don't have a "happy" ending. By that I mean those where you still know who committed the crime, but they don't necessarily get caught. I don't care for those that don't resolve the murder itself.

Barbara sagde ...

I like to mix it up according to my mood. The only things I don't like are excessive violence and stories without a clear end. I do love humorous mysteries. In short, though, give me fascinating characters and I'm happy.

pattinase (abbott) sagde ...

I like good writing, a character-driven plot, and a non-formulaic approach. I can find such books in all genres.

Karen Russell sagde ...

I go through streaks. I usually like the orderly type best, but every once in a while I run through a bunch of darker thriller types. But I agree with Barbara about the violence and lack of a clear ending!

Dorte H sagde ...

Kelly: for the reader to know the murderer is also my minimum demand.

Barbara: I agree about the characters, but I also need a proper plot.

Patti: certainly, but I know that you like noir more than I do.

Karen: it is great that the genre offers something for every reader - and every mood.