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Detective Fiction Vocabulary
Terms in this set (39)
This type of mystery involves one or more crimes (especially thefts, swindles, or occasionally kidnappings) perpetrated by the main characters in full view of the reader. This type of crime story differs from the usual crime story by elements of humor, adventure, or unusual cleverness or boldness.
a piece of evidence that leads the detective to the solution of a problem or a crime
Country House Mystery
This type of mystery most often occurs at a remote location during a weekend party (what better way to involve multiple suspects?) and with either a professional or amateur detective in attendance....Quite often, the detective returns to unmask the criminal in front of a pre-assembled audience.
Cozy Detective Mystery
This type of mystery features an amateur detective and no explicit violence, although a murder is usually the featured crime.The amateur detective is usually someone keenly interested in crime but with no professional link to crime-solving, such as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple.
an investigator of crimes, either professional or amateur
Popular synonyms for detectives
bloodhound, dick, flatfoot, gumshoe, hawkshaw, narc, P.I., private eye, private investigator, shamus, and sleuth
(Detective) Spoofs and Parodies
This kind of detective story mocks or pokes fun at the detective story genre by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation.
a detective employed (paid) by the victim to solve the crime.
a person keenly interested in crime-solving but with no professional credentials
local or state authorities charged with solving crimes
FBI agent (or profiler)
federal authorities charged with solving crimes
Forensic pathologist or specialist
an investigator who usually studies the evidence and draws conclusions that often lead to the identification of the criminal.
The Edgar Award
a small bust of a famous American detective writer, presented to outstanding detective writers every year by the Mystery Writers of America
"Fair play" rule
the writer must provide sufficient clues to allow the reader to solve the mystery himself/herself
detective movies featuring cynical and evil characters in a sleazy setting with a dark and ominous atmosphere that is conveyed by shadowy photography and foreboding background music, as in John Houston's The Maltese Falcon (1941)
the study of physical evidence
Golden Age of Detective Fiction
stories written between the World Wars One and Two, when Agatha Christie, the mystery novel's "Queen of Crime," wrote many of her popular mysteries.
The central plot of this type of mystery involves a crime (almost always a murder) and the setting (time and place) have some true historical significance. The detective (usually an amateur) may be a real-life historical figure or a fictitious character.
This type of mystery reveals the commission of the crime early in the story and usually identifies the criminal to the reader but not the detective. The story then develops around the detective's attempt to solve the crime. There may also be additional puzzles, such as the motive for the crime, that are cleared up along the way.
This type of mystery involves crusading lawyers who become involved in proving the innocence of their clients and along the way, actually solve the crime and identify the guilty perpetrators.
Locked room mystery
usually involves a murder committed under apparently impossible circumstances (such as Edgar Allen Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue")
The method of the crime; refers to the choice of victim, weapon, location, and other crime characteristics that afford the detective a way of identifying the criminal's unique style of committing his/her crime.
the first detective agency in the United States, started in the mid-19th century
Police Procedural Story
indicates a mystery story written from the point of view of the police investigating the crime.
The criminal act is often a manifestation of a mental disturbance on the part of the perpetrator, who is difficult to catch because he/ she is also highly intelligent and knowledgeable of police procedures.
the science or study of mental disorders or the conditions and processes of a mental disorder
the process of exact thinking; reasoning (a term coined by Edgar Allen Poe)
a misleading clue, intended to divert the audience from the truth or an item of significance. For example, in mystery fiction, an innocent party may be purposefully cast as suspect; as a result, attention is drawn away from the true guilty party.
the police headquarters in London.
usually a murderer who repeats the modus operandi of his/her crime multiple times.
a known person under suspicion of a crime
the unknown subject in a crime investigation
a nickname for a detective's sidekick; refers back to the loyal companion to Sherlock Holmes
a mystery or detective story in which both the reader and the detective are gradually provided with clues to the identity of the perpetrator of the crime. Often the criminal is revealed only moments before the full solution is revealed in the final pages of the book.
Edgar Allen Poe
Considered the first American writer to develop the detective genre in fiction
famous fictional British detective
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
author of the Sherlock Holmes detective novels
Detective stories printed in cheap magazines and published mostly in American in the 1930s and 1940s.
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