My mother dismisses it as trash, though I don’t think she’s ever actually read any. My friends read it as light entertainment between heavier-weight litfic titles. My daughter, who is the most intelligent person I know, seems to love it as much as I do, but leans towards the golden age end of the genre. My husband just reads anything I put in front of him. Well, maybe not anything, and he does make a few choices of his own, but mostly what’s on his to-read shelf is something I’ve read first.
And me? I do read other stuff, but mostly it’s crime fiction, and not just because I get four or five a month to review. My current book wishlist, which is always lengthy, consists of ten non-crime and about sixty crime novels. And what I read off-list seems to fall into a similar proportion.
Mostly I don’t think about why this is. I just enjoy crime fiction, that’s all. Except... That’s not all, is it? There’s an underlying need being fed here. I’ve probably said this before, but I make no apology for that today. Especially today. Especially this week. The thing about crime fiction is this: between those covers, right is done, justice is served, and the bad guys, whatever their agenda, get some kind of comeuppance, cosmic if not legal. (Especially true of the golden age sub-genre; I draw no conclusions on my daughter’s behalf, but I can’t help wondering...) This principle doesn’t apply in the real world, on either a personal or a global basis. Bad things happen to good people, and bad people get away with bad things. So in its sometimes gory and violent way, crime fiction is a comfort.
And today, while the world, and Europe in particular, is in shock yet again because of the actions of a bunch of idiots who can’t understand that their way is their way and doesn’t have to be everyone’s way, and that real-life violence is never, never a solution to anything, I can escape, albeit briefly and temporarily, to the fictional world I’m currently visiting and relax for a while.
That’s why I read crime fiction. And that’s enough for today. You really do not want to hear me rant about people who plant bombs and kill innocent bystanders just to draw attention to their highly suspect cause.