"Fiction in any form is always intended to be realistic" An exploration of this quote and its relation to the genre of Crime Fiction.

Essay by excentriqueHigh School, 11th gradeA, October 2004

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Crime Fiction

"Fiction in any form is always intended to be realistic" (Raymond Chandler, The simple art of murder). Crime fiction is no different. Underpinned by its trademark conventions - a crime, a mystery around how the crime was committed, a detective, an intricate convoluted plot and a climatic 'all is revealed' denouement - the genre has evolved to reflect changing social contexts of composition and to reflect upon the issues and values concerning the society of the day. Comparison of the works of the simple 'who dunnits' of Arthur Conan such as the Sussex Vampire (19.. ) with The Big Sleep (1940), LA Confidential (1990) and Snow Falling on Cedars (1998) reveals the nature of the evolutionary process which has enabled the genre to stand the test of time whilst also moving with the times. The result has been ongoing success for a genre which continues to appeal to the modern audience.

The Golden Age of crime fiction, epitomised by the works of ACD and later AC, reflected upon a society defined by moral certitude and unwavering belief in justice. Hence the conventions of the genre, which were largely established in this era, serve to reaffirm upper class British society's confidence in itself. In the Sussex Vampire, Holmes's comment "I'm sure there's a rational explanation for this" is indicative of a culture that rejects crime as an aberration, an anomaly amid a morally steadfast society. In this scrupulously flawless world, the detective is a pillar of knowledge and wisdom, the quintessential sleuth. Further reflecting upon their self assured society, the detective saw the crime as a "problem in logic and deduction" (the simple Art of Murder), epitomised by Holmes's arrogant assertion in the Sussex Vampire that he will "disprove the common fear.

Juxtaposing the Golden Age's...