This month’s Read Watch Play theme is Crime Reads. Crime fiction is a hugely popular genre here at Shoalhaven Libraries, as well as in other libraries, book stores and lounge rooms all over the world. There are just so many good crime reads to choose from!
This month, you might choose to read something from the Detective fiction sub-genre, which focuses on a detective (professional or amateur) who investigates a crime, often murder. The 1920’s and 1930’s were the Golden Age of detective fiction, when authors like Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh and Margery Allingham were writing. In Golden Age detective stories, an outsider — sometimes a salaried investigator or a police officer, but often a gifted amateur — investigates a murder committed in a closed environment by one of a limited number of suspects. These days, authors such as Lee Child, Raymond Chandler, P.D James, James Patterson, Ian Rankin and Michael Connolly have taken centre stage.
You might enjoy Police Procedural novels, which portray the activities of the police force – including forensics- as they investigate crime. Police fiction is different to the ‘whodunnit,’ as the identity of the perpetrator is often known early in the story, and the story is often focused more on the techniques and circumstances that lead to their arrest. Popular police procedural authors at Shoalhaven Libraries include Tess Gerritsen, JD Robb, Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwall, Mo Hayder and R.D Wingfield.
Or Cozy Mysteries- also referred to simply as “cozies,” might be your cup of tea. This subgenre of crime fiction features crime and detection occurring in small communities with a limited amount of sex, swearing and violence. The name ‘Cozy Mystery’ was first used in the late 20th century when an attempt was made by various writers to resurrect the Golden Age of detective fiction. The detectives in these stories are almost always amateurs with a close knowledge of the murder-rocked community and its citizens. There is minimal violence and the murderer is seldom a psychopath or a serial killer, but rather a member of the community with motives such as jealousy or revenge. Our library borrowers like to cozy up with Alexander McCall Smith, Donald Bain, Rita Mae Brown and Laura Levine. Interestingly, Agatha Christie is still popular with our borrowers, too!
Psychological Suspense is another popular Crime sub-genre here at Shoalhaven Libraries. Also related to the thriller genre and detective fiction sub-genre, psychological thrillers are mental rather than physical in conflict- that is, the focus is on the process of the minds of the characters, rather than on the plot. Popular authors in this genre include Orson Scott Card, Nicci French, Steig Larsson, Val McDermid and Michael Robotham.
This April, read a work of crime fiction. There’s so much to choose from, and many different sub-genres to explore. There is, quite simply, a dead body for every reader.
And, after you’ve finished reading, why not join the live Twitter discussion on Tuesday April 30 at 8pm AEST.
Use the tags #crimeread and #rwpchat as you discuss the reading, watching playing that is your experience of crimeread, so others can join in the conversation too.