The More Things Change...

Novels of crime, mystery and suspense are by far the most widely read form of literature in most of the Western world, and not infrequently the best written.... Yet few contemporary critics treat the mystery as anything more substantial than a mental pacifier; the genre is accorded scantier and less prominent review space in most journals than the mindless TV special or the memoirs of unmemorable statesmen.

Hat Tip to Sarah Weinman.


Peter Rozovsky said…
I linked approvingly to that article, too, as I suspect many of us will. One thing struck me as odd, though. In the selection you quote, the writer decries critics who fail to treat crime fiction "as anything more substantial than a mental pacifier."

Elsewhere, presumably intending praise, he calls crime fiction "the insomniac's solace, the commuter's opiate." Seems to me there's not much difference between the two. Why is pacifier a term of scorn but opiate a term of praise? Ah, well. Sloppy editing existed in the 1970s, too.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

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