BEDA · Eternal Sights; Spotted Mind

BEDA 2013.1 #11: Of Reading Crime Fiction

“What makes a good book?”

Just a disclaimer, I will not be answering that question. If you’ve been reading this blog since I don’t know when (thank you so much if you do), you’ would know my preference for the crime/ thriller/ mystery genre in my reading/ to-watch list. While I would say I’m not reading/ watching enough, here are a few ponderings about what I feel to be the makings of good crime fiction.

Justice vs. Relatability

Of course, justice must be served. My main grouse with certain titles, despite the intrigue of the case, is how it can end with such inconsequence. By inconsequence, I mean an ending or a result that ends up lacklustre at best (e.g. fate of the perpetrator relayed in passing during a ball etc…). This is not to say that the perps cannot get away, but what I usually look for is something intriguing, but yet you can imagine. If everything falls into place too conveniently, it loses a lot of real world relatability.

Crime & Punishment is something people deal with and see every day, and while justice should be served, a good crime fic piece, for me, tells the ending as you would see it through your own eyes – dramatically real.


When it comes to a setting we can all be familiar with, the characters tend to make the story. In fact, many mystery serials are character-driven (Sherlock Holmes, Lisbeth Salander, Harry Hole, Hercule Poirot, Scott Finn etc…) – it’s not so much on how creative a committed crime can get, it’s how solid these characters are. Hardly typical (e.g. washed-out detectives, bureaucratic superiors etc…), these characters have a certain quirk, which may not necessarily be a super power, that encapsulates their entire being. A character you love (or love to hate), for me, is one of the major key factors of good crime fic.


The greatest irony of Crime Fiction, I feel, is how good crime fic will dish out the greatest monstrocities of humanity but, at the same time, give you that faith of impending hope. As gruesome as the stories can get, good crime fiction still affirms your faith in poetic justice, even with anti-heroes.

And that will be all for today’s BEDA, I will see you all again tomorrow!

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