Detective Fiction Essay

1159 Words 5 Pages
Why Ask Why?
The most important part of any type of book or story is that it be interesting. This proves to be particularly important in detective fiction as well. What could be more interesting than having a crime committed in front of you, given all (or most) of the details and still not be able to figure it out? This is exactly how detective fiction authors draw people into these stories and books. By weaving an intricate and interesting plot full of fascinating characters, and all types of details about the crime, readers get drawn into the plot and cannot stop reading until they find out the solution to the mystery. Simply put, readers are drawn to detective fiction because it is so easy to become completely engrossed in the stories.
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Should the setting be a generic, make-believe place, or an actual place, it will help readers enjoy the story more. The advantage of using a generic location is the ability of the reader to envision a place in which they are familiar with. This will lend to the reader being more interested in the story because they can associate details from the story with things from their lives. In a similar way, a specific location such as San Francisco, in “The Thin Man,” make the reader think of the story as more realistic. By setting a story in an actual place, lends to a sort of realism to the story. Both generic and specific settings help the author to lace the story together with the characters and the clues to make detective fiction more fascinating, which in turn draws the reader back to the genre again and again.
     Clues have, and always will be vital to detective stories. The most important thing to consider is if an author plays “fair” with giving/not giving the clues to the reader. There are many “rules” which imply fair play of detective fiction, such as Van Dine’s “Twenty Rules of Writing Detective Stories.” These rules or guidelines help to establish, in Van Dine’s opinion, what constitutes a fair story. He believes that detective stories are a kind of “intellectual game.” This idea plays on the mentality of reading these stories as a challenge for the reader. The
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