Why People Read Detective Novels


What kind of people read detective stories and why?

Agatha Christie, the world’s best-selling novelist of all time, writes:

Invariably, I think, the busy people, the workers of the world. Highly placed men in the scientific world, even if they read nothing else, seem to have time for a detective story; perhaps because a detective story is complete relaxation, an escape from the realism of everyday life.

It has, too, the tonic value of a puzzle – a challenge to the ingenuity. It sharpens your wits – makes you mentally alert. To follow a detective story closely you need concentration. To spot the criminal needs acumen and good reasoning powers.

It has also a sporting interest and is much less expensive than betting on horses or gambling at cards. Its ethical background is usually sound. Very, very rarely is the criminal the hero of the book. Society unites to hunt him down, and the reader can have all the fun of the chase without moving from a comfortable armchair.

Read the rest of the essay from The Guardian here

Recommended reading: Analysing Agatha – How to become the best-selling novelist of all time