Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Up this beanstalk a boy must climb who is not himself a bean: Crime fiction and children's fiction

Readers of Detectives Beyond Borders may know the tale of how this innocent crime-fiction reader unexpectedly found himself reading and becoming a big fan of Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books and his Half Moon Investigations.

I was reminded this week of that marvelous discovery as I read the author's note with which Garry Disher prefaces his collection of short stories called Straight, Bent and Barbara Vine. Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski, Disher writes:

"depends upon a community of women friends and is given to examining her conduct in personal and private matters. But ultimately she must act alone. It's a rule of thumb of crime and children's fiction that the solution must lie with the hero, not the cavalry."
That makes sense, doesn't it? One might ultimately forge additional links with the heroic tradition in general, but for now, think about that frisson of excitement you feel when Jack kills the giant, Odysseus makes it home, or your favorite fictional cop or P.I. gets to the end of a novel alive.

Can you see any other connections between crime fiction and children's fiction?

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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