The last panel I attended at Theakstons Crime Writing Festival at Harrogate in July was the ‘Keeping it Real’ panel on Sunday morning. You can find my post about the panel itself Here.
What interested me and has kept nagging away at me since was a question put to the panel by a member of the audience at the end. The answer was laughter from all on stage. Basically, the panel was about whether crime fiction should mirror real life crimes or stay away from them and the question was about whether any of the writers had thought about writing anything other than murder. Onset lots of laughter and jokes about writing about bank robberies and stolen bicycles. (or some such other lesser crimes.) The mindset of the answering authors was that murder was the most serious of crimes and therefore the only crime that can really be written about to warrant a novel.
I wasn’t overly happy with the response, but couldn’t from the top of my head think of any crime novels where someone hadn’t been murdered.
Fast forward a little over a week and I’m reading The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. One of the highlights of my reading year so far. You can read my review Here. Definitely a crime novel. And not a murder to be solved or occurring anywhere in the book. I’m not spoiling anything by saying the novel is about an abduction. I’ve just read the blurb on Goodreads!
So what about the laughing Harrogate panel?
I think you can have a crime novel without a murder. It needs to be a very cleverly written book, but yes, absolutely.
What about you? What books have you read that don’t have murder within the pages but fall firmly within the crime fiction genre? I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this one.