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Colin Bateman: Where is the humour in crime fiction?

4th June 2010

Crime writers should not be afraid to use humour in their novels, author Colin Bateman has argued.

Writing in the Guardian, the novelist pointed out that authors such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers tended to include 'subtle laughs' in their stories, but crime writers seem to have become more concerned with 'gore'.

'Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs and Patricia Cornwell's Postmortem became super sellers 20 years ago - laughs were out, torture porn was in - and their influence is still apparent in bookshops,' he explained.

Bateman added that the modern crime fiction scene has become 'stale and predictable' as some authors are essentially working from a template by only changing the details of the previous novels' plots.

He also claimed that the comic crime fiction sub-genre, which is populated by authors such as Robert Lewis, Malcolm Pryce and Declan Burke, is one of the few areas where originality and wit can be found.

Bateman's passion for humourous crime writing could have been bolstered by his recent success at the CrimeFest awards, when he won the Last Laugh Award for The Day of the Jack Russell.

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