Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Literature, True Crime
People have always been captivated by true crime stories. True crime stories are based on actual accounts of crime—usually homicide. The stories include motive, intent, modus operandi, apprehension, conviction, and sentencing of the offender. True crime writer Tom Byrnes (1997) says that true crime stories provide various perspectives, including details from the crime scene and narratives regarding how the criminal justice system (police and courts) handled the investigation and prosecution of the case. From ancient times to contemporary times, true crime accounts have been attempts by people to explain the norms of their society and how those who deviated from the norms have been judged and punished by their peers. The type of medium used to pass on true crime stories—whether it was oral tradition or printed word—has depended on the time period of the respective society. Consequently, across the centuries, true crime stories have been both told by storytellers ...