Today I am delighted to be on the blog tour for Leigh Russell’s new novel, Deadly Alibi. For my stop the author has very kindly written a guest post on the appeal of crime fiction. Hope you enjoy it as much as me. Deadly Alibi by Leigh Russell is published by No Exit Press and is available to buy as an ebook: bit.ly/deadlyalibiebook
THE APPEAL OF CRIME FICTION
When I first started writing the Geraldine Steel series of detective stories, crime fiction was really popular. Eight years and fourteen books later, the genre continues to be a favourite for many readers. There are several reasons for this.
Fictional murder investigations present the readers with characters on different sides of the moral spectrum. The ‘good’ characters may be flawed and dodgy in their own individual ways, and the ‘bad’ characters are frequently victims themselves, sufferers as well as perpetrators of evil. But there is a clear moral divide, and readers know who they want to see brought to justice by the end of the book. And yes, it’s about goodies and baddies.
This adds to the suspense, which is a key element in any crime novel. The more evil the killer, the more eager the reader will be to see him or her caught.
In addition to the moral conflict at the heart of any crime novel is the element of puzzle. A lot of readers enjoy pitting their wits against an undisclosed killer, trying to identify who is committing the fictitious crimes before the detective tracks them down.
Another aspect of crime fiction that raises the genre above the level of simple story telling, is the way crime fiction ‘holds a mirror up to nature’. Some of the best crime fiction examines social and psychological issues, as well as simply working out a plot. The book is not just about what happens, but examines why it happens, and how the criminal is able to commit the crime at all.
In my debut novel, Cut Short, my killer is a character who should never have been allowed to live unsupervised in the community. The book poses a question about what we are doing, as a civilised society, failing to support people who are unable to cope alone. Murder Ring examines the issue of gun crime. Many people in possession of firearms are not evil master criminals. They are dysfunctional people, or children, incapable of acting responsibly.
As a crime writer, I have no answers to these problems, but it is important that we as a society take notice of them. Crime fiction is a way of drawing attention to the issues that trouble our society.
But the crimes in my books are ultimately about the way individual people interact with one another. Deadly Alibi considers problems that can arise when relationships between people go badly wrong. Relationships within families tend to be the most intense, and the ones where people are most likely to feel trapped. You can sever all ties with your parents, but you cannot stop them being your parents. You can walk away from a friend, but you are always related by blood to members of your family, even if you never see them.
The death of a parent is probably going to have a long term effect on a child, but the remaining parent is also likely to be deeply affected, as is a possible step-parent. Parents may well feel a sense of responsibility towards their children, but to what extent should anyone feel responsible for a sibling? These are some of the questions that inform the events in Deadly Alibi.
Of course, all this takes place very much in the background of a police investigation into a murder. The main thrust of the narrative is the investigation into first one, and then two murders… and possibly more.
I would like to thank Sarah very much for inviting me to write a guest post for By the Letter Book Reviews.
After teaching English in secondary school, #1 bestselling author Leigh Russell now writes crime fiction full time. Published in English and in translation throughout Europe, her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson titles have appeared on many bestseller lists, and reached #1 on kindle. Leigh’s work has been nominated for several major awards, including the CWA New Blood Dagger and CWA Dagger in the Library, and her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson series are in development for television with major television production company Avalon Television Ltd.
Journey to Death is the first title in her Lucy Hall series published by Thomas and Mercer.
Find out more about Leigh on her website http://www.leighrussell.co.uk where news, reviews and interviews are posted, with a schedule of Leigh’s appearances. Contact Leigh via her website, follow her on Twitter, Facebook and follow her personal blog http://leighrussell.blogspot.co.uk