Raymond Chandler was the man who reinvented crime fiction. He took murder out of the country house – away from all those baronets killed by unlikely means in their libraries or smoking rooms – and put it back where it belonged: in the cities where people live. People like you, people like me.
He wanted murder to be committed by real murderers, solved by real detectives. He wrote:
“Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor.”
Chandler reinvented the detective story and we still live in the world he reimagined for us.
I’m a crime writer too. Not a genius like Chandler, but a writer who wants real crimes, in real settings. I want a detective who engages me from the very first page. I want clues and complexities and mystery and red herrings. And I want poetry. Power. Humour. Observation. Delight. I want a book that hums in the memory and sings in my unconscious.
That’s no easy task. Chandler managed it, but he threw down a mighty challenge to us, the generations of crime writers that came after. Can we match him? Can we find new ways to tackle old themes? Can we make crime sing? Find detectives worthy of these mean streets?
I don’t know, but this blog plans to find out. It’s not just me, not my blog. It belongs to a bevy of serious crime readers and writers. A few of us are published crime writers. We’ve got DCI Jackie Malton, the forensic expert behind Prime Suspect and countless other TV dramas. We’ve also got a number of serious amateur writers and crime addicts, who are going to give us their views. Click the “Line Up” tab above to read more.
But above all: this is your site. Read, comment, send us in your own reviews. Your own commentaries. If they’re about crime, decently written, and not obviously criminal, then we’ll publish them.
And we want to give back. Here’s our cunning plan: we get publishers to give free stuff to us. Then we give it away to you. Just click the “Identity Theft” tab, give us your email address and we will either (1) gain entry to your computer and steal your entire life, or (2) enter you in our monthly prize draw for freebies – for ever.
Above all, welcome. Welcome to this blog. Welcome to the world of crime fiction. Welcome to a community that shares your passion. You’re among friends.