OK, this is officially beginning to drive me kind of nuts. Are there officially recognized divisions within the mystery genre, and if so, what are they? I've heard of the following:

* Traditional / cozy
* Hardboiled / noir
* Police procedural
* Spy / espionage
* Literary / psychological (do these belong together?)
* Thriller (couldn't some of the other types also be thrillers?)
* Historical
* Comic / caper

Are there others? Are some of these redundant? Who oversees these kinds of things? (<-- attempt at humor)


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Yes. Sub-genre labelling is Very useful for finding a book I'll have a higher probability of enjoying. Otherwise I'm stuck just browsing titles and covers in the bookstore. (Which I do enjoy, but only when I don't know what I want to read. When I actually want to read a SPECIFIC thing, it's annoying as hell.)

And it's particularly useful when I'm at the library. Especially now that the employees at my local ones are rarely book geeks themselves. I remember being a kid and going up to the librarian and saying, "I want a book like..." and them just finding one for me. I thought they were geniuses, but really they just understood book categories and how to use the card catalog.
Officially recognized by...? :)
I think as readers/writers/humans(!) we feel that we need some kinds of labels, but I think it's important that we don't hold onto them in any rigid sense. That said, if one -does- go into a genre/sub-genre with certain expectations, it's always fun to disrupt and decentre the expected structure thereof and make the reader think about their own complicity with the text. Personally, I prefer to keep everything under the umbrella of 'crime fiction', moving the focus from transgressor to transgression.
Maybe I should go back to my first point: "Officially recognized by...?" ;)
All of your listed genres have subsets, often hyphenated, or "extra" hyphenated, and all can be hyphenated with "historical," except historical, of course. Hard boiled-historical, historical-noir (I happen to believe that noir and hardboiled are generally different, although sometimes a story or book can be both.


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