Crime Fiction: A Very Short Introduction [#429]
Crime Fiction: A Very Short Introduction [#429]


  • Tells the story of crime fiction, discussing what features define the genre and how it has developed
  • The first account to consider how crime fiction has developed beyond Britain and the USA
  • Includes an examination of crime fiction in comparison to spy fiction, legal dramas, and thrillers
  • Poses questions about crime fiction's status as a brand of popular culture rather than legitimate 'literature'

Crime fiction has been one of the most popular genres since the 19th century, but has roots in works as varied as Sophocles, Herodotus, and Shakespeare. In this Very Short Introduction Richard Bradford explores the history of the genre, by considering the various definitions of 'crime fiction' and looking at how it has developed over time. Discussing the popularity of crime fiction worldwide and its various styles; the role that gender plays within the genre; spy fiction, and legal dramas and thrillers; he explores how the crime novel was shaped by the work of British and American authors in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Highlighting the works of notorious authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Raymond Chandler — to name but a few — he considers the role of the crime novel in modern popular culture and asks whether we can, and whether we should, consider crime fiction serious 'literature'. 


1: Origins
2: The two ages: Golden and Hard Boiled
3: Transitions
4: International crime fiction
5: Gender
6: Cousins of crime: spy ficiton, the thriller, and legal drama
7: Epilogue: Can crime fiction be taken seriously?
Further reading


Richard Bradford is Research Professor of English at the University of Ulster and has taught previously in Oxford, the University of Wales and Trinity College, Dublin. He has published twenty-one books on a variety of topics, including Russian Formalism, Stylistics, 18th Century Criticism and the History of English Poetry. He has written several books including a biography of Philip Larkin (Peter Owen Ltd, 2001).

"the "fine dining" of literature" - Ruth Ginarlis, Newbooks Magazine

"This is a fine introduction to a genre that embraces humanity in its flaws and glories, and it should find its way onto the bookshelves of anyone who likes crime fiction, or fiction in general." - Ben Macnair, Nudge.com

"... this tidy little read-in-an-evening item will explain and enhance your affection for murder, open your eyes to new authors and have you reaching for the bookshelves for another fix, assured that you're right in the read afterall." - Sunday Sport, Jon Wise


ISBN : 9780199658787

Richard Bradford
152 ページ
111 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions





Crime Fiction: A Very Short Introduction [#429]

Crime Fiction: A Very Short Introduction [#429]

Crime Fiction: A Very Short Introduction [#429]