Featured Author Friday: Pauline Rowson
Why the crime genre is so popular
Crime fiction is the bestselling genre and tops the most borrowed fiction books from public libraries in the UK. So what is it that makes crime fiction so popular? For starters it is so varied. Some readers like the gritty gruesome, others prefer cozy comfortable. Some enjoy a literary style crime novel, others a racy, action-packed page turner. Reading about exotic locations turns some readers on whilst others enjoy ‘home spun’ tales. Then there’s historical or contemporary, detective or private eye, male protagonist or female… But all crime fiction fans will agree they want great, believable characters and a cracking good plot. Saying this is easy, writing and delivering it time and time again is more difficult. But then that’s the challenge and the enjoyment of writing.
Apart from being a cracking good read crime fiction can also give us a resolution. By that I mean that usually justice will be done, the case will be resolved and the baddie either banged up or will get his/her comeuppance and that is not always the case in real life. In life the evil and manipulative, the guilty, can get away with it, as in the case of the unsolved murder in my own family in 1959 that of my great aunt, Martha Giles. But that’s another story and a rather complex and long one.
Crime fiction can also give us an insight into what makes people tick and I believe that is one of the reasons why crime fiction is so popular. Crime writers and crime readers are fascinated by human behaviour. Sometimes we are warmed by the actions of others and at other times horrified and appalled by it. I am interested in personalities, behaviour and motivation. What is it that makes people do the things they do?
I also enjoy a puzzle to solve, a crime to investigate and a mystery to unravel and that is another reason why I think crime fiction is so popular. When reading a crime novel I like to pit my wits against the protagonist or the detective and see if I can solve the crime before he or she can. When writing my own crime novels, featuring my flawed and rugged detective, DI Andy Horton, I often don’t know who did it when I begin the story. As the characters begin to develop and their personalities and motivations become clearer then I begin to unravel the crime.
Crime fiction covers so many facets of human nature. The same goes for true crime. It’s a kind of voyeurism, the ghoul factor that causes people to stand and gawp at an accident or incident. Me though, I’m a real coward. I run a mile from reading true crime. Give me crime fiction any day where I can see that justice is served and my hero triumphs!
Pauline Rowson is the author of the DI Andy Horton mystery series set in the Solent area on the South Coast of England. Her crime novels have received critical acclaim in both the UK and the USA. There are ten in the DI Horton series with the eleventh, Shroud of Evil, being published in April 2014. Death Lies Beneath (DI Andy Horton 8) is published in paperback on 27 February 2014.