Allan Martin, whose crime novels include The Dead of Jura and Death in Tallinn, gave an excellent talk on crafting such a novel at today’s meeting. He covered the essentials of plot structure and characterisation specific to crime writing, then went on to give an overview on the evolution of the genre, which appeared in the 1860s, with Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone most often cited as the book that started it all. Since then, the genre has become incredibly diverse, giving readers—and writers—a great deal to choose from in terms of detectives’ personalities, approaches to investigations, types of crimes committed and the motives villains have for committing them. Hats off to Allan for giving our group a concise and engaging presentation of such a varied genre—he even devised an exercise for us to try!
For a half-hour, we signed out of Zoom to write a 300-word prologue that could be the opening for a crime novel. When we signed back in, several members volunteered to share their work. As usual, it was fascinating to hear the wildly different approaches that members of our group had taken. The ethos of our group is a supportive one, so I think it’s safe to say those who share their work enjoy themselves as much as those who have the job of listening.
Thanks again to Allan for a great talk and to Leela Soma for hosting it.