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»I think it was P. D. James who once remarked that the formula for a successful detective story is 50 per cent good detection, 25 per cent character and 25 per cent what the author knows best. In much recent crime fiction, what the author knows best seems to be torture, rape and mutilation, possibly because many younger authors’ teenage diet, unlike mine, did not consist of BBC adaptations of John le Carré novels or Inspector Morse but rather Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Seven. I tend to write what Americans call, rather nauseatingly, ›cosy mysteries‹ and what my British publishers prefer to refer to coyly as ›series novels‹. I’m a fan of the so-called golden age of detective fiction – that period between the wars when detectives were relatively untroubled, the settings were pleasantly enclosed, romance was rare and murder most foul was not grisly.«

Ian Sansom

A worth reading and quite entertaining essay: Writer Ian Sansom (latest novel: The Norfolk Mystery about the consolations of crime fiction, past and present. His fine articel you can read at the New Statesman.

»In sum, crime fiction can be read simply as distracting, relaxing entertainment. But to do so is to let the authors get away with murder, because they are embedding clues to our society within their books.«

B.J. Epstein

B.J. Epstein knows what we can learn from crime fiction. Her clues at