. . . at one time it looked as if the crook story would run it [the love story] a close second in lasting popularity. The underworld has always been a fascinating ground for the fictionist. Low life appeals to the folk above-stairs, even as "plush" stories are eagerly devoured by the servants in the kitchen.
The crook story had a long and deserved vogue: indeed, that vogue has never quite died out. The burglar who led a double life—was a gentleman by daylight and a housebreaker when evening fell—will never lose his glamour for any of us with imagination; and the crook who gets the better of the police—who does not love him eternally?
Robberies, murders, tense situations wherein wily women defeat the law and get Bill out of a pickle to boot—these have steady and certain charm for most of us; and any series, wherein the same band of thieves moves like a cinema before us, will appeal to the editor.
It is an enduring type of fiction that is as up to date today as it was fifteen years ago; and it would be a calamity if it became unfashionable.
See the hosts of magazines that have sprung up, which make a specialty of detective yarns and adventure stories. Their name is legion; they are as thriving as the little poetry journals scattered through the land. — Charles Hanson Towne, "Fashions in Fiction," THE BOOKMAN (December 1920; Jump To page 332, left bottom)
Category: Detective fiction