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Murder is the most heinous of all crimes and yet it is also the most compulsively fascinating. The traditional whodunit involves an intellectual duel between detective and criminal, drawing readers into the mystery via the chase, the clues and the ultimate solution to the puzzle.
Feminised Crime Friction
The male detective has been usurped by a new generation of feisty, independently minded women who share many of the talents and personality traits of their male counterparts but offering an alternative gendered perspective. They are physically capable but typically less aggressive and violent. Marele Day aptly summed up many of the differences in Bitch City:
"the hard-boiled American-style detective story has a lot in common with the western — it is an adventure story rather than a puzzle to be solved, and there is plenty of action often erupting in violence. The hero knows his way around the traps yet distrusts society and has his own personal
code of ethics, a grey knight in a black world. He knows his way around the traps because he knows the place; this is the landscape of his quest, his scene of action. Man against man, man against his environment. A machismo paradise, not a good woman in sight."
I have included a clip for you to us that I put together when I first taught the Crime Writing Genre Elective. I found it useful for giving students a snapshot of how the genre has changed over time. It also stresses the crucial role played by the detective.
I had better however, get back to writing about 'Harry Lavender' or I will never get Standard Modules finished and then move onto 'Discovery'.