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  • Writer's pictureChristopher G. Moore

Detective and Private Eye Fiction

I came across a good summary of the history of private eye, detective, police procedural fiction:

You will also find a handy list of famous private eyes (Vincent Calvino is included).

On the essence of early Chinese detective fiction:

”These novels differ from the Western tradition in several points as described by van Gulik:

the detective is the local magistrate who is usually involved in several unrelated cases simultaneously; the criminal is introduced at the very start of the story and his crime and reasons are carefully explained, thus constituting an inverted detective story

Inverted detective story

An inverted detective story, also known as a "howcatchem", is a murder mystery fiction structure in which the commission of the crime is shown or described at the beginning, usually including the identity of the perpetrator.... rather than a "puzzle"; the stories have a supernatural element with ghosts telling people about their death and even accusing the criminal; the stories were filled with digressions into philosophy, the complete texts of official documents, and much more, making for very long books; the novels tended to have a huge cast of characters, typically in the hundreds, all described as to their relation to the various main actors in the story; little time is spent on the details of how the crime was committed but a great deal on the torture and execution of the criminals, even including their further torments in one of the various hells for the damned.

Ghosts and a cast of hundreds makes for a different reading experience.

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