The Changing Focus For Crime Stories
Among the earliest crime stories, such as “The Three Apples”, a tale Scheherazade narrates in the One Thousand and One Nights, no investigation is conducted. In this story, a fisherman finds a heavy locked chest in the Tigris and sells it to the caliph. The caliph has the chest broken open to find the dead body of a young woman cut into pieces. The caliph orders his minister to solve the crime within three days or be executed. The minister learns the true story only from the men who confess to the crime.
On the other hand, the Sherlock Holmes stories, written near the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, popularized the investigation aspect of a crime. In that same tradition, our early 20th century stories, such as “the cozies”, emphasized plot.
But our more recent stories focus on character more than plot. For example, much of Phoebe’s character development is revealed in “The Missing Widow” as she tries to solve the disappearance of her next-door neighbor. Unlike Miriam, Phoebe is squeamish, obsessed with the latest Roman fashions, and has a flare for histrionics, but when challenged, she shows her courage by taking on the most malevolent opponent.
You can still expect the twists that define the plots of the 20th century mysteries, but in The Deadliest Deceptions you will find an added dimension, an emphasis on the development of character. To find out more about the stories, click here.