Crime fiction

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Crime fiction is the genre of fiction that deals with crimes, their detection, criminals and their motives. It is usually distinguished from mainstream fiction and other genres such as science fiction or historical fiction, but boundaries can be, and indeed are, blurred. It has several sub-genres, including detective fiction (such as the whodunnit), legal thriller, courtroom drama and hard-boiled fiction.

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History of crime fiction

While the archetype for a murder mystery dates back to "The Three Apples" in the One Thousand and One Nights,[1] crime fiction began to be considered as a serious genre only around 1900. The earliest known crime novel is "The Rector of Veilbye" by the Danish author Steen Steensen Blicher, published in 1829. Yet more known are the earlier dark works of Edgar Allan Poe (e.g., "The Murders in the Rue Morgue " (1841), " The Mystery of Marie Roget " (1842), and "The Purloined Letter" (1844). Wilkie Collins' epistolary novel The Woman in White was published in 1860, while The Moonstone (1868), is often thought to be his masterpiece. French author Émile Gaboriau's Monsieur Lecoq (1868), laid the groundwork for the methodical, scientifically minded detective. The evolution of locked room mysteries was one of the landmarks in the history of crime fiction. The Sherlock Holmes mysteries of Arthur Conan Doyle are said to have been singularly responsible for the huge popularity in this genre. A precursor was Paul Féval, whose series Les Habits Noirs (1862–67) feature Scotland Yard detectives and criminal conspiracies.

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