The other day I was walking down the road and nearby an accident had taken place. The roads were cordoned off, police sirens were blazing, and people had flocked to find out what had happened. The only thing that came to my mind was a crime scene—the myriad clues the investigators would come across, the blood-spattered seats and the chilling afterthought of a serial killer roaming scot-free. These scenarios, however, were just a figment of my imagination. It was a minor accident, and there were no casualties. The long lasting effects of reading too much crime fiction was not lost on me. But this is what happens when your Saturday night plan involves reading a crime thriller, eating straight out of a tub of ice-cream and channeling your inner Sherlock Holmes.
Before we investigate the essence of crime reading (see what I did there?), let me start by introducing you to a crime fiction book that has clever criminals, and even cleverer investigators who take us down murky lanes, and hidden passages to unearth the dark, and sinister mystery of the crimes. The Anthology Of 20 Stories: Crime presents 20 expert criminals, 20 spine-chilling murders from the wizards of crime fiction— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, James Hilton, Dorothy L.Sayers, Frederick Brown, Ross McDonald, Stanley Ellin to name a few. This anthology promises to satisfy your inner detective by bringing to fruition stories that are entertaining, laced with macabre killers and grisly crimes by expert storytellers who understand the workings of a criminal mind like no other. Be it ‘Journey With A Murderer’ by Donald Honig about a little boy Mark, a devil’s incarnate, who is responsible for sinister crimes or ‘The Man From The White Mountains’ by Ted Willis about a man living in the white mountains of Sphakia, and how his entire life was a process in preparation of him becoming a murderer and how sometimes, genes, background and circumstances decide the fate of a person. The connoisseur of crime fiction writing, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in ‘The New Catacomb’ has also weaved a complicated story of a German specialist and an English student who mysteriously dies in a newly discovered Catacomb in Rome.
There goes a saying, ‘Crime Does Not Pay’ but when it involves blood-curling, jaw dropping and mind numbing collection of stories; one can say it does pay & generously so. The Anthology is everything you can expect from crime stories and much more!
Crime fiction has been garnering a lot of attention over the past years with readers flocking to the nearest bookstore to devour the new crime releases. Reading about blood thirsty killers, their notorious killing patterns & their conniving self is enough for readers to stick by. But this doesn’t mean we take sadistic pleasure in reading these violent stories or plan to become murderers (I mean, if you borrow our books & return them in terrible condition, what is one supposed to do?). But jokes apart, the idea behind reading crime fiction and why readers can’t enough of it is actually quite simple.
CAUSE & EFFECT
One thing leads to another. One mistake leads to grave consequences. It’s like dominos. When it comes to storytelling, each scene is meticulously planned, every sub-plot employed for the purpose of providing more credibility to the story and every red-herring another trick to confuse and attract the readers. Readers are smart, they know what they’re getting into which means every plot, and theme is under great scrutiny. Take any Sidney Sheldon for instance, every scene takes us to another pathway, every catastrophe leads us to different results. . Cause & effect is the dues ex machina of crime fiction writers.
Ask any crime fiction lover and they’ll tell you there’s no feeling that comes close to finding out the ‘who’ and the ‘why’. Humans are inherently curious. It’s like your mother asking you to NOT open her cupboard but you wanting to do just that. Reading crime fiction unravels layers of complex situations, presenting us with answers we couldn’t fathom and ultimately quenching our thirst for the unknown. The ‘aha’ and ‘oooo yesss’ that readers experience when the missing piece is put together are a few instances that are insanely gratifying. It’s comforting to say the least.
Element of Surprise
Crime fiction has a simple formula. The ending has the bad guy in jail. But that’s the least of our concerns. It’s the thrill of the chase, the tiny clue leading to a eureka moment, the whiplash effect of putting together the pieces of the puzzle and seeing all our theories either confirmed or disputed. We all love surprises and anyone who says otherwise is lying. So when it comes to reading, crime fiction provides a reader-centred experience where the readers are also working alongside the investigator in figuring out the culprit. And when an author manages to surprise, it’s like a cherry on top.
The Justice Trope
There’s an innate quality in all of us. We want justice. We want fairness. We want the good to always have the upper-hand. But life and the current political-economic scenario don’t leave room for comeuppance. Here’s when crime fiction acts as a catalyst in helping us believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that the good doesn’t always lose, and that balance in the universe can be maintained. We all like to live vicariously through the books we read, the stories we consume—and crime fiction makes us live that reality even if it’s for a little while.
In crime fiction, action and suspense is guaranteed in a way that’s missing from other genres. Even if you’re a non-reader, reading a thriller is easier and more entertaining as compared to any Austen or Dickens. Pick any Agatha Christie, you’ll be sucked in right from the beginning and will be invested in the story, its characters, the ending. It’s like walking for miles and finally arriving at your destination. Crime fiction is naturally the most suited and the best starting point for readers to begin reading.
The appetite for crime fiction keeps increasing as readers find themselves drawn to the unreliable, intelligent yet crafty killer, the investigator whose stubbornness and eye for detail promises hope where there was none, and the setting which binds the story together.
Do you have any favorite crime/thriller novel? Let us know in the comments below!