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
Frankie Y. Bailey
In Bloody Murder (1983), scholar Julian Symons observes that if crime fiction is defined as any story that has “the faintest connection with crime” (16), then fairy tales such as “Little Red Riding Hood” (which includes an attempted murder) and almost all of Shakespeare's plays (certainly both Macbeth and Hamlet ) would be included in this category. In fact, much of literature, past and present, does involve themes of crime and punishment. What separates general or mainstream fiction dealing with issues of crime and punishment from genre crime fiction is sometimes an arbitrary dividing line based on perception of the writer's intent, how the book is marketed, or where it appears on bookstore shelves. For example, a novel such as E. L. Doctorow's (b. 1931) Billy Bathgate (1989), about a fictional young man's apprenticeship with real-life Prohibition-era gangster Dutch Schultz, is regarded as mainstream fiction. Best-selling writer Stephen King Dolores ...