What are some examples of crime literature that serves as deep social commentary?

I ask this question in the interest of furthering the high respect that I think crime literature deserves.  In the news recently there have been many journalists kidnapped and killed.  Could it not be that in some places in the world writing fiction to explore social injustice, bigotry, religious extremism, corruption, organized crime, and violence, that it may be safer to do in a fictional vein.


I in no way mean to suggest that crime fiction can, or should replace journalism, just that in some places it might reach a wider audience, and the story element might pull people through a longer and deeper exploration of ideas and points of view, than would a strict journalistic article.


As the European editor of Noir Nation, I would love to see some non-fiction short stories on these topics, and have a journalistic tie-in.



The discussion on this forum has gotten quite a lot of responses.  This has inspired us at Noir Nation to add a new section to the first issue of Noir Nation wherein writers opine on the following question: Must crime noir have a moral point?  The word limit is 300 to 500 words. Include short bio, and photo. There is a $25 honoraria, payable on publication. Best five get published in Issue No. 1. Send to eddie@evegaonline.com -- Eddie Vega

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Really?  Literary fiction isn't usually a culprit there -- though I grant you the older versions tend to be a little more didactic, but then they usually announce their intentions.
It was the more recent stuff, I.J., mostly lopsided myopic dystopian lit.  Didn't care for it then and sure as heck don't care for it now, but it is a definite culprit, and much of it had seriously overt and embedded agendas.    Or . . . maybe it was the idea that my profs' agendas got rammed down my throat.  Hmmmmm. 

I see your point, I.J. My intention was not to suggest that we dedicate the entire length of a novel to a particular issue. Are we not masters of creating depth and motivation where others prefer to be ambivalent?


I meant to say that an author should use a particular issue, or a number of issues for that matter, to fuel the main plot or give depth to the characters. A relatable sub-plot, whether peppered with political or social issues or not, is a good vehicle to use when attempting to win over the reader. This is where we can put the spotlight on the ever-elusive decadence.

Ah yes, the didactic autobiography.
All The President's Men.  The didactic--and horribly written--new journalism expose. 
That was just plain boring. I know it's a classic and all, but I've got to be wet drunk to enjoy how dry it presents everything.


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