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Why Is Detective Fiction Attractive?

Photo by Ali Hajian

Before we dive into what makes the genre of detective fiction so appealing, let's lay down the basics first. Detective fiction is within the realm of both mystery and crime fiction. This genre can be considered to be some people's reading choice for leisure time. But, it's still very distinctive in the world of fiction itself. What makes it so, is readers will have to think like a detective to try and figure out the story. Therefore, it makes these books like a thinking exercise or even a sports activity. Generally speaking, both mystery and detective fiction can be thought of as popular forms of literature, too.

There many book genres out there, such as romance, science-fiction, fantasy, horror, erotic fiction and even, historical fiction. All of which can be considered as an entertaining form of reading that can make the time fly by faster, similar to detective fiction. However, some characteristics make detective fiction stand out from the rest.

The 3 advantages of reading detective fictions are:

1. It's entertaining because the exciting and intriguing plotline makes readers engrossed in the story. The feelings of suspense scattered throughout the book are what keeps readers engaged in the book. While this may be a common aspect in other genres, the following advantage might be especially for detective fiction.

2. Detective novels provide readers with a plethora of information. Such knowledge spans from scientific facts to deduction skills, and even social skills!

3. The stories are inspiring. Detective fiction enlightens a reader's way of thinking. Suppose the reasoning is to be based on facts. In that case, one has to investigate and research, incorporate and examine collected materials to find a conclusion. These aspects of detective fiction help change our way of thinking and improve our deduction skills.

When reading detective novels, forensic science is seen as a prominent tool in the story. According to Britannica, forensic science acts as a means for using science in the matter of civil or criminal situations. For detective fiction, it has a significant role in the process of solving a crime. These tools and knowledge are used to conduct a variety of experiments to uncover evidence from a crime scene. For example, blood stains are found continuously at crime scenes, which makes it part of the evidence used to solve a crime. But how would you know if the stains are really blood? This kind of scientific knowledge will blend with the story and present itself to us. Hence, while reading the novel, besides just telling the story, it provides us with the science and reasoning behind the cases as well.

In my perspective, detective fiction expresses the idea of upholding the rule of law. These books always have a mystery or a crime to solve. And to a large extent, they represent the idea of maintaining the rule of law. But if the correct reasoning is not used to solve a crime, then the novel will be less appealing to the audience. Which is why such reasoning plays a crucial role in these stories as it is essential to attract more readers. Generally, to solve a crime, there are specific rules and regulations in place which act as a basis to determine what is right and what is wrong. While this paints a picture of criminalistic landscapes, detective novels don't advocate people to do crimes. Instead, it serves as a basis of a specific law and the standard human view of morality. Thus, bringing the villain to justice.

One of my friends who doesn't read detective novels once shared his thoughts about them. He says that such books should not be promoted because they might give birth to many young criminals. Therefore, reading these stories might influence them to imitate the criminal acts of the characters in the novel, like killing or robbing. But, this is an unfair statement to claim. Detective novels do not teach people to carry out a crime, but merely give readers a sense of right and wrong, to pursue the good and punish the evil. Rather than saying people will commit a crime after reading such material, why don't we look at a different angle? And say that it actually helps us to maintain the law and justice in the world.

It would be good if people start reading detective novels because the positive impact of it is much more than you can imagine. Here are a few books I would like to recommend for those who are interested in reading detective novels and some thought-provoking quotes from them:

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

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"Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking."

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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"First, there were ten—a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a little private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal—and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. A famous nursery rhyme is framed and hung in every room of the mansion:"

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

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"Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside."

By Chew Chia Lok


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