A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post asking if crime fiction novels had to involve murder. This was following an audience question during a Theakstons Crime Writing Festival panel at Harrogate in July, which was met with laughter from the panel. You can find my initial post Here.
The comments in response to that question were a resounding NO, you don’t need to have a murder in a novel for it to be a crime novel and lots of examples were provided.
It was suggested that I compile a post of the books without murder at their core from the comments on the initial post, so this is that said post.
Non murderous crime novels.
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Loophole by Robert Pollock
The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy by Barbara Vine
The whole Mma Precious Ramotswe series
Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Shame by Karin Aflvtegen
The Caller by Karin Fossum
I’m sure there are many many more. If you can think of any please feel free to leave your book in the comments. It’s an interesting topic and one that has made me more thoughtful about crime fiction and my reading choices.
Glynis Smy says
I had never really thought about crime books without murder! Interesting topic.
Jade Reyner says
I agree with Glynis – I suppose I had always thought that crime books included the ultimate crime. Maybe that’s all that television that we keep watching! 🙂
Alex J. Cavanaugh says
You always think of a murder, but that’s just one of many crimes that could be committed.
Margot Kinberg says
Thanks, Rebecca, for this list. Hmm….I’ll have to start thinking of more novels like this. In some ways, it’s harder to write a compelling crime novel that isn’t about murder. Really interesting!
Murees Dupé says
That is wonderful to know. I always assumed that you had to have murder in crime novels. Thank you for putting me straight.
Jacqui Murray says
Good list. I’m surprised.
Irish writer Mel Healy says
I’m also partial to a bit of manslaughter, which doesn’t count as murder, right?
Now I’m curious as to how these books are advertised in stores, I usually head straight for the SF/F section. Are crime novels labelled as murder mysteries? Or just crime?
Rebecca Bradley says
I think they’re all just lumped under crime Gwen.