Buy this book at
To Past Reviews Index
Back to Last Page

Crime Fiction – A Very Short Introduction

Richard Bradford

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : OUP Oxford

Published : 2015

Copyright : Richard Bradford 2015

ISBN-10 : PB 0-19-965878-1
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-19-965878-7

Publisher's Write-Up

Crime fiction has been one of the most popular genres since the 19th century, but has roots in works as varied as Sophocles, Herodotus, and Shakespeare. In this Very Short Introduction Richard Bradford explores the history of the genre, by considering the various definitions of 'crime fiction' and looking at how it has developed over time. Discussing the popularity of crime fiction worldwide and its various styles; the role that gender plays within the genre; spy fiction, and legal dramas and thrillers; he explores how the crime novel was shaped by the work of British and American authors in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Highlighting the works of notorious authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Raymond Chandler - to name but a few - he considers the role of the crime novel in modern popular culture and asks whether we can, and whether we should, consider crime fiction serious 'literature'.

'This is a fine introduction to a genre that embraces humanity in its flaws and glories, and it should find its way onto the bookshelves of anyone who likes crime fiction, or fiction in general.'
Column Ends


Reader Reviews

Why not Submit a Review your own Review for this book?

Review by Ben Macnair (300618) Rating (8/10)

Review by Ben Macnair
Book Source: Not Known
Rating 8/10

The academic Richard Bradford has packed a forensic study of the history, main themes and characters within Crime Fiction – A Very Short Introduction.

At only about 120 pages, the book travels a lot of ground, from its start with the work of Edgar Allen Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to the leading lights within the genre today, ranging from Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell and Sara Paretsky.

The themes of Crime Fiction are all tackled, looking at the development of Crime Fiction within the contexts of the times in which they written, from the tough hewn characterisation and ideas of Dasheill Hammett, to the lighter, but no means lesser writing of Agatha Christie.

One of the main strengths of this short guide is the way in which it can remind the reader about writers or books they have forgotten about, or the links between writers who grew up in the same areas.

The often forgotten thing about Crime Fiction is how far crime sits within a novel, and although not every novel is a crime novel, most books, with conflicted characters contain some form of crime, or transgression, from Dickens, or Shakespeare, and any story that we care to mention. Crime Fiction is not necessarily about crime, the crime is an inciting incident that allows for the development of stories, of characters, that can stay with the reader long after the criminal is caught, and safely locked away.

This is a fine introduction to a genre that embraces humanity in its flaws and glories, and it should find its way onto the bookshelves of anyone who likes Crime Fiction, or fiction in general.
Ben Macnair (30th June 2018)

Back to Top of Page
Column Ends