Saturday, December 7, 2013

"Rather Dangerous in Their Suggestion"

Should the villain ever be allowed to escape justice? Several years ago James Lincoln Warren gave it some thought:
Don’t stories that feature criminals as heroes romanticize the worst in human behavior? Disregarding the “gentlemanly” part, much of contemporary crime fiction regularly features ruthless assassins and psychotic serial killers as protagonists. Is that really want we want?
 . . . In every other story I’ve written that I can think of, Justice Is (Completely) Served. I like it better that way. After all, if one is going to bother to write a story about morality (and what else is crime fiction?), then there ought to be some sort of moral in it.
Some of today's crime writers, says Warren, have grown lazy in plotting their stories:
. . . it’s easier to plan and execute a crime than it is to solve one. Accordingly, it’s easier to write about committing a crime than about solving one. Committing a crime may require resolve, but bringing one to justice requires wit or character or both. That’s what makes ratiocinative fair-play mysteries so much fun to read. — James Lincoln Warren, "And the Crooked Shall Be Made Straight," CRIMINAL BRIEF (September 20, 2010)

Category: Detective fiction

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