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Why Detective Genre Novels are attractive?

, Meng 1
Mandy Meng
Professor Haas
WR 39B
Jul 27, 2014
Why Detective Genre Novels are attractive?
Detective genre novels can always make their readers want to follow them to find the
truth by not showing them how the truths are found before the details and sources are explained.
What makes the detective genre different from other genres that attract to the readers?
The Different Story in The Reader and The Detective Story written by George Dove
talks about how detective genre is different from other genres--it holds a special criticism about
detective novelsthe detective stories are a special case of reading, and it has different rules
and specialized formulas to structure (back cover). The author George Dove received Edgar
Allan Poe Special Award from the Mystery Writer of America by his book The Police
Procedural and published The Boys from Grover Avenue. He has been a member of the Popular
Culture Association since 1974 and served as president of the national organization during the
1989-91 term (back cover).
George Dove says that publishers name the detective genre as mystery, he explains
how the detective story is different form other kinds of stories. A very important thing of a
detective story that makes it detective genre different is that the reader cannot be excluded from
the definition of the tale of detectionthe role of the readers is different (1). The readers are a
part of the story, and they can see the process and take part in. they are not spectators. Writers let
the readers feel confusions, disappointment, excitement and the sense of accomplishment. The
readers are involved in the story. For example, Watson in Sherlock Holmes is a representative of
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the readershe asks questions that the readers have and helps the readers see what Sherlock
Holmes (the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) wants him (the readers) to see. The Man With The
Twisted Lips of Conan Doyles novel Sherlock Holmes, for example, which is a short story that
talks about a case that a woman who finds his husband disappearing wants help from Sherlock
Holmes, and Sherlock Holmes finally discovers that the husband is pretended to be disappeared
because he doesn't want his family knows that his job is actually disguising himself as a beggar.
The readers are surprised to know that Holmes is in the den but don't know why. At this time,
Watson asks, What on earth are you doing in the den?(3) Watson helps the readers to
participate in the story and asks questions to Holmes. The readers are not simply reading a story
but seeing everything and every move.
Dove restates R. Austin Freemans words that the detective novel is an exhibition of
mental gymnastics, in which the reader is invited to take part and an argument conducted
under the guise of fiction (2). Using Sherlock Holmes as an example, it is not hard to feel the
readers try to solve the mysteries while reading, and this is an intellectual genre. In The Sign of
Four, Holmes asks Watson what he thinks of the small footprints. Not only Watson but the
readers would think together that woman and children have small footprints. This is spontaneous,
and this experience is the readers cannot get from other genres.
"Murder Will Out": The Detective in Fiction, published by Oxford University Press, is
written by the English scholar and crime writer Timothy John Binyon (18 Feb 1936 7 Oct
2004). This book is like a guide for readers who had a good time with a crime novel and want to
investigate further.
Binyon points out that Doyle wanted to create a pure detective with no emotions at first,
but he added some human traits later in his writing (10). The sense of conflict of Sherlock
Why Detective Genre Novels are attractive?, Meng 3
Holmes makes the character more touchable to the readershe is not perfect, and he is
interesting. He can admire a worthy adversary, as he admires Irene Adler for outwitting him in
A Scandal in Bohemia. However, he never let emotions to influence his judges. Holmess
knowledge of literature as non-existent, but at the same time, he is soon quoting Goethe and
Flaubert, quizzing Watson on his knowledge of Carlyle, and recommending to him a book he
describes as one of the most remarkable ever penned, Winwood Reades Martyrdom of Man
(10). The perfect imperfections and conflictions of the character make the detective charming
and solid, the character is three-dimensional and real.
Dr. Leroy Lad Panek writes Beginings of An Introduction to the Detective Story. He
got his PhD at Kent State University and is currently the chair of the English Department of
McDaniel College. He won the George N. Dove Award for contributions to serious study of
mystery fiction in 1991. He states that through the development of detective genre stories, the
author traces the history of detective stories that depends upon scientific method (5), which
means that detective stories can be considered as scientific fictions and could happen in the real
world. In The Final Problem written by Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes calculates the speed of
the train by counting the time it used to pass a distance. Holmes uses physics to count the speed
of the train, which is science. While reading the novels, the readers can have the experience to
feel resolve in the story and understand the process and logic with no obstacles. The story is
based on real life, and it is easy to pull the story into the real world to imagine the scene and
actions.
Detective stories have a very obvious characteristic that they are about criminals and
crimes. This great mass of material about crime and criminals had a specific impact on the
modern development of the detective story, says Panek, which means the detective genre is
Why Detective Genre Novels are attractive?, Meng 4
based on crime and criminals (Beginnings, 5). Silver Blaze is a story about how Sherlock
Holmes solves a case that the horse was stolen and the trainer was killed. The whole story feels
just like a gossip people can hear and could happen in the real world, but the way Holmes solves
it is simple and rational. And in A Scandal in Bohemia, the royal and the charming woman is
not something that ordinary people would have a chance to meet and know. The crime and
criminals in the detective stories give people to try things they may be able to go through and
they will not have a chance to go through.
In Theory and Practice of Classic Detective Fiction, the writers states that a unique
formal pattern of detective story is that the plot is double, as the story is first narrated as it
appears to the bewildered bystanders who observe the crime and are to some extent threatened
by it but who cannot arrive at its solution (1). In Sherlock Holmes, this characteristic is very
apparent. Watson is a bystander, but he cannot arrive at the solution. However, because Watsons
feeling is the same as the readers, it calls a resonance between Watson and the readers and
pushes them to follow Holmes thoughts and keep reading.
In conclusion, the role of the readers is different, and readers can participate and try to
solve the mystery, the adorable and conflict settings of the detective, the science that relates to
the readers to make them feel real, experiencing the criminals, and the double plot in detective
stories all make detective genre different from others and become attractive. At the same time, it
gives the readers a different kind of reading experience.




Why Detective Genre Novels are attractive?, Meng 5
Work Cited Page
Doyle, Arthur Conan. Sherlock Holmes. THE SIGN OF FOUR (annotated) (Kindle Locations
1466-1468). . Kindle Edition.

Doyle, Arthur Conan. "Adventure 1: Silver Blaze." The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Lit2Go
Edition. 1894. Web.

Doyle, Arthur Conan. "Adventure 11: The Final Problem." The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.
Lit2Go Edition. 1894. Web.

Dove, G. The Different Story: The Reader and the Detective Story. Bowling Green State
University Popular Press. Bowling Green, OH, 1997.

Binyon, T.J. "Murder Will Out": The Detective in Fiction. Oxford: Oxford University Press,
1989. 9-12. Print.

Panek, L. Beginnings: An Introduction to the Detective Story in z. Bowling Green State
University Popular Press, 1987.

Delamater, Jerome and Ruth Prigozy, eds. Theory and Practice of Classic Detective Fiction. New
York: Praeger, 1997.