True Crime fandom can often be fraught with ethical questions, and this is exactly as it should be. Using what will be the worst thing that has ever happened in many people's lives, as what is essentially a form of entertainment, can bring us too uncomfortable places. Amoung the true crime community there is always discussions of what is and is not appropriate. How do we refer to victims? Which kind of crimes do we choose to focus on? How much detail of the violence do we need to give out?
In Britain however the crimes that we are often most gripped by tends to be those that happen to ordinary people, who live quiet lives. Perhapse that is to do with the fact that despite seeing ourselves as a modern state, in the UK we still live with the hangovers of the feudal system, with such regressive concepts as the "deserving poor," and moralisitic phrases like "hard working people," still finidng currancy in our politics, which has been overrun recently with those for whom even their privilage comes gold plated. We've never admired our rich and powerful as much as tolerate them, and get on with our own lives.
Mead's central charctor, John Spector, is the magician who helps the police unravel, this fiendishly difficult murder. As a conjuror he is perfectly placed to understand the art of illusion and distraction, and fits wonderfully well into the narrative. However, we learn little about who Spector is, and how he has come to be assisting the police, leading his presence to be essentailly the third mystery of the book.
For LGBTIQ+ communties crime is too much of a reality. Across the globe queer people are more likely to be victims of crime, historically they have been more likely to be criminalised, and in many places the fear of imprisonment for being nothing more than who you really are is far, far too present. So in this post we are going to pinpoint some of the best podcasts and books TCF has reviewed over the last seventeen months which whether fiction or non-fiction have an LGBTIQ+ element.
In life things are seldom as permanent as we think they will be when we are children. The art of accepting and living with change is one of the secrets of life, and one that all of us will struggle with at some point, whether it is the end of a relationship, a job, or …
Motherhood is an idea that permeates If You Tell by Greg Olsen by it's absence. Olsen recounts the life of Shelly Knotek, who killed three, and abused countless others, including her own children. Knotek could easily be cast in the role of femme fatal, her good looks attracting many unsuspecting men into her orbit, but that would be too surface a reading of what is a clearly aberant pshycology. Instead Olsen makes his readers the proverbial frog in water slowly begining to boil, as he trace the development of Knotek from a troubled and difficult child and teen into a fully fledged murderer.
With the hindsight that living in a different era gives us we can easily see that for some of these women, it was the strict, inflexible mores of Victorian society that led them to their fates, and had they lived in different times, may have had very different outcomes.
It does not appear to matter how many family annihilators wipe out of existance the people they are meant to love the most, shocked colleagues or neighbours still talk about what a nice, quiet man he was. We still do not believe that if we as individuals have judged a person to be safe - that maybe we are not seeing everything - so majesticly omnipresent we consider ourselves to be.
This week Mairi sit's down with crime fiction author Amy Suiter-Clark to talk about the process of writing her debut Girl, 11, and many other things crime fiction, including why neither of them will ever light up a room.
It is never long before crime fiction follows true crime, and one has to wonder if the podcaster could be poised to replace the private eye, who's peak in crime fiction does feel somewhat in the past. The prospect of the podcaster as the new crime fiction hero - or more likely heroine, given true crimes demographics - is intriguing, as they bring in not just a new job, but drag with them an audience.