Crime Solvers: an Analysis of the Detective Story

300 Words2 Pages
"Who done it?" The persistent quest for bringing a perpetrator of a vile crime (usually involving murder) to justice has become the definition of the detective story. The question of "who done it" keeps challenging all kinds of detectives in novels, stories, and films, not to mention their audience, proving to be one of the most enduring, and most popular genres of fiction ever created. All eyes are on the detective, the main protagonist, through whom the story is told either as a first-person narrator or in the third person as portrayed by the author. We depend on him to guide us through this puzzling journey; but not all detectives use the same routes. This can be supported by comparing Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles (a classic detective story) with Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon and Jake Gittes in Chinatown (both considered hard-boiled). Even though the detectives above differed in style, the stories they're in seemed to contain certain common elements! that are found in both classic and hard-boiled detective stories. (1) the seemingly perfect crime; (2) the wrongly accused suspect at who circumstantial evidence points; (3) the unskilled and clumsy style of dim-witted police; (4) the greater powers of observation and superior mind of the detective; and (5) the startling and unexpected conclusion, in which the detective reveals how the identity of the culprit was ascertained. The detective story frequently operates on the principle that superficially convincing evidence is ultimately irrelevant. Usually it is also self-evident that the clues from which a logical solution to the problem can be reached be fairly presented to the reader at exactly the same time that the detective receives them and that the detective infer the solution to the puzzle from a
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