View Full Version : What is "crime fiction"?

08-14-2008, 07:38 PM
An agent I am interested in differentiates between crime fiction and mystery and I'm not sure exactly what it means. Is it a genre on its own somehow or an umbrella term that includes mystery/thrillers?

08-14-2008, 11:22 PM
Like many definitions in this business, I think users can draw different lines, but I'd see mysteries as a usual subset of crime fiction, w/ the latter encompassing all suspense, thriller (inc court room dramas) and commercial fic strongly involving LE/outlaws. If l'agent reps cr fic but not mysteries, of course, just don't go there if yours is clearly a mystery. Just go query, get your work out there.

08-14-2008, 11:27 PM
This is my (very unexpert) opinion--but Mystery seems to center around the solving of a murder by a single person and ends with the murderer being caught. What Crime Fiction I've read will cover any type of crime (or combinations) from plotting to act to conviction--a much broader scope than the traditional Mystery.

But my observation could totally be wrong, so I'll be interested in other people's input.

08-15-2008, 02:33 PM
I use the term very broadly to encompass all the subgenre's of mystery and procedural and...etc. That's just me, though. If I had to pin the term down I would call Elmore Leonard the perfect example.

08-15-2008, 11:51 PM
I'd consider my first WIP a Crime thriller. My second WIP a police procedural. Both would fall under Crime Fiction, neither are mysteries. Both reveal the killer to the reader early in the book and the story is about the MC catching him.

I'm sure you can supply your own definition for a mystery.

Jake Barnes
08-16-2008, 01:42 AM
For me, crime fiction is told from the POV of the criminal(s) as opposed to, say, a police procedural which is told from the POV of the police. Of course if the cops are criminals then I suppose you could have both. Richard Stark's "Parker" novels are crime fiction.