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Can you have a great mystery novel without ‘blood’ and ‘guts’?

This was my very first blog! Although ‘cozy mysteries’ are now a firmly established genre in crime fiction, I believe this question is still an important one.

The RetroReview

Can you have a great mystery novel without 'blood' and 'guts'?

I certainly think so, although recently I’ve found it more difficult to find them. The real masters of the genre have never used graphic violence to ‘spice up’ their plots. Agatha Christie, P.D James, Ruth Rendell (writing also as Barbara Vine), Josephine Tey and Susan Hill can create genuine chills through their suspenseful prose, interwoven with just the hint of the worst crimes that mankind (and womankind) are capable of. These great writers avoid stomach churning descriptions of blood and guts but rely instead on very clever storytelling and well observed characterisation. However, now that we expect a certain amount of gore in our T.V dramas and mystery fiction, is it possible to write a top novel in this field without it? Or will we now need to create a whole new genre of fiction for this type of narrative? It’s a large field and I hope there’s room for everyone’s…

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