Book Review: ‘Key Concepts in Crime Fiction’ by Heather Worthington

This book review series seeks to investigate those books on the market which promise to help you write, with an emphasis on writing within the crime/thriller/mystery genres.

I read this super-fast because the real geek in me would love to be studying a degree in Crime Fiction, if such a thing exists, and this is the sort of book you would find on the course’s recommended reading list.

To the review!


The blurb on the back:

“An insight into a popular yet complex genre that has developed over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The volume explores the contemporary anxieties to which crime fiction responds, along with society’s changing conceptions of crime and criminality. The book covers texts, contexts and criticism in an accessible and user-friendly format.”



£21.99 (paperback) on Amazon


My rating:


My review:

Although I’d say I’ve read a good range of crime fiction, it was a real pleasure to curl up and read up on the rise and rise of crime fiction through history, in terms of its key themes and its context within wider society.

Everyone will find a chapter relating to their area of interest, be it race, gender, sexuality, politics or culture. As a Geography graduate I particularly enjoyed the section on how the geography of a city facilitates crime.

Every point made in this book is related back to popular works in the crime fiction genre, helping us build a timeline of emerging themes by way of our favourite stories. This book would be really useful if you decide to write a story in the recent past but are unsure of the key sociological matters of the time; take a peek in this book and read up on the authors mentioned; there is a fantastic recommended reading list at the end of each chapter.

If you are writing and need to consider underlying themes, check out section two ‘themes, issues and concepts’ for inspiration. This will help you to discover what has previously been covered.

One thing I would point out is that this book provides an overview on a wide range of themes, and so what we get is a good introduction to many topics. It therefore serves well as a reference book perhaps that will signpost you to more in-depth reading.


Over to you

Have you read ‘Key Concepts in Crime Fiction’? Let me know what you thought in the comments.

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