Detective stories are essentially conservative

Posted by Helen Monday, December 05, 2011

Tory Historian has mentioned before (here and here, for instance) that detective stories are the most conservative of literary genres. And here is an article I wrote on it last week for Taki's Magazine.

Consider what happens in a detective story, even a modern one that purports to have a leftward (or “enlightened”) leaning: A crime, probably murder, is committed, possibly followed by similar crimes. The world is turned upside-down as a result. Together with the detective, we cannot rest until the perpetrators are discovered and brought to justice. The perpetrator is at the very least prevented from repeating the crime. Human life is sacrosanct. Murder is wrong, no matter how you look at it. It is the ultimate crime. It destroys nature’s balance, which can be restored only by the culprit’s discovery and his or her punishment. In a century that saw the casual elimination of millions of people, this highly moral attitude became and remained attractive to many people. This has continued into the new century, which has not started off too well.
Do read the article. The more hits it gets the better it is for yours truly.


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