OK I’m french. My english is a frenglish, it’s rusty and wobbly, et voilà. Try me, though. I’ll do my best. I promise. If sometimes it’s too bad, just laugh at me or roll you eyes.
Why do people love crime fictions so much? It must be personal.
First there is a murder, and who likes dead bodies? Then, comes the policeman. What is so exciting about police officers? Boring. It’s all boring. Les polars…
But OK, let’s amuse ourselves… Some of you enjoy using your minds to follow the clues and solve the case. Maybe that’s cool, et si vous aimez ça, tant mieux. Readers enjoy living in the pages where crime has happened, within papers, reports, and discussions and then they suddenly understand the mystery and all in the comfort of their homes. Voilà !
Do you believe that the author has just as much of an alibi as the murderer? Well he does. The author’s usual alibi is to paint a historic period, show rising suspense, invent action, criticize a way of living, and exploit a setting.
Most writers don’t write a “polar” (as we say in France) to simply write a police story. They write for other reasons !
I would like to propose another way to interact with this genre.
First : What if you read the first twenty pages of your crime novel to get an idea of the plot, characters, etc. You like the idea ? Good.
Second : OK… bear with me… You read the last five pages of the book. YES. OK, you now know “who did it”, but there is a purpose behind it all. Still with me?
Third : Go back to page 21 and continue to read the rest of the book. Following the writer’s process of unfolding the story.
With this exercise, you the reader, are changed. You cease to be the victim, the writer’s prey. YOU are now the investigator discovering how the writer pulls his readers this way and that.
• Once in a while try to break the old cycle.
• If you’re bored in the world, invent a different approach in order to make your own power and pleasure.
• Don’t be so serious. You can always break the rules by adding casualness to Art. Pick pages in Proust. Vous avez le droit !
• What would it feel like to stop the Pavlovian response to what media proposes. Invent your own style of perspectives. Write something. Deconstruct anything and above all… Play.
Lastly, at the end, you should maybe pick another crime book and read it properly. That is good TOO. The waldgänger is a hidden discreet rebel, but he sometimes quickly reappears from the dark woods and is back, in a second, within the world of humans.