Criminal Writing

It is many months since I last blogged, and this will be short and sweet. This has been the most productive year of my writing life, with five books published. I have written two crime non fiction books, two whaling non fiction books and one historical crime novel.

Now I ask myself, and anybody else who cares to read this: why is there such an interest in crime?

I mean, nobody likes to be a victim of crime. It is a terrible thing to be robbed, mugged, raped or murdered, yet year after year, crime books are written by the hundred, if not the thousand and there is always a demand. Recently I attended a crime writing festival at Grantown on Spey in the Scottish Highlands. It was very busy, filled with very decent, respectable people who all had an interest in crime and crime writing. I would doubt that any of them had broken a law in their lives: always exepting motoring offences, which seems to be accepted.

Maybe it is the fascination with maybe being a rebel, just once in their lives, that attracts the interest?

My historical fiction book: A Burden Shared: the Dundee Murders was based on fact. Most of the events happened, the back story was historically accurate in everything except the date and location and the detective followed the procedure current at the time. In its own way it was a guide to mid nineteenth century policing. Was that a draw? It has received good reviews, but nobody would want to meet the criminals involved.

Or maybe we already have, for that is the thing about most crime. Although there are a number of professional career criminals out there, most crimes are petty, ugly, sordid and stupid. Petty theft; drunken brawls; breaches of the peace; speeding; silly acts of idiocy that attract no attention. It is only the few spectacular crimes that are noted; the murders of Jack the Ripper; the Great Train Robbery and the like.

Why is that? Maybe time puts a gloss of romance over these events.

Whatever it is, let us all hope that the criminals leave us in peace today and in the future. Let us hope that any crime we meet is confined to the pages of a book!

Keep safe







About malcolmarchibald

Happily married for 34 years to Cathy, I have three grown children and live in the depths of Moray in northern Scotland. I was educated in Edinburgh and Dundee and work as a lecturer in Inverness, while writing historical books, both fiction and fact.
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2 Responses to Criminal Writing

  1. Pryzrak says:

    I can’t speak for others, but I believe people are attracted to what they are not, even if for some it means being detectives and for others being criminals. Read in books things they are not capable doing. The mystery that the books bring, and in the end, the safety of believing there is someone out there, someone that fights for them and punish the bad guys.

  2. Margaux N. says:

    My theory is that our human mind likes to get to know the criminal mind and its motives, not just for the adrenaline rush reading about the criminal’s actions gives us, but also because we feel that if we got to know the criminal – and got to know his motives – that we feel safer that we, somehow, found a justification for the twisted things he did. To us, knowledge is power, and power is safety.

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