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Jesus Ruvalcaba
Professor Haas
Writing 37
6 November 2014
Structure of the Detective Genre
The detective genre has evolved a lot since the Victorian Era but still includes the
original basic structure. This genre was used a lot by the middle class individual as a
method of removing the stress of their daily lives. This genre always makes sure that the
main character is a detective (Dove 10) and ultimately makes that individual the
smartest and the one everyone relies on to solve the crime/mystery. (The thesis
statement in my essay was not clear and therefore did not let my controlling idea be
clear). This concept can be seen in Conan Doyles detective novel The Hound of the
Baskervilles and how Sherlock Holmes is a genius and the person who ultimately solves
the mystery.
As stated by Dove, the detective genre states that first, there is the detectiveprotagonist, who is the prime mover of the action of the narrative. Second, there is the
detection plot, which supplies the major theme of the story; there may be minor themes,
but the detection is always basic. Third, there is the problem to be solved, invariably
represented as insoluble. And finally, there is the solution, which is always reached
before the story ends (Different story 30). This basic structure reinforces what Doves
says on how the main character is a detective (Dove 10) and also focuses on the idea
that the mystery of the novel must be solved and must be known by the reader (Different
story 19). These concepts were used in order to make the detective genre more

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entertaining for the middle class because they use these stories for a quick read and in
order to make their lives a little less stressful. Conan Doyle, the creator of the great
detective Sherlock Holmes established many aspects that make the detective genre what
it is and aspects that cannot be matched by other individuals because they are extremely
difficult to put together. Binyon states that few, if any, pastiches have managed to
achieve more than one of the four elements essential for a successful imitation of Doyle:
authentic atmosphere, convincing plot, the Watsonian narrative tone, and an adequate
amount of Sherlockholmitos(Binyon 12). These four elements, though extremely hard to
use them together in a perfect manner, were all used extremely well by Conan Doyle
which shows how great of a writer he is.
Another reason why the detective genre was so popular during the Victorian Era
was because it was used as a method of relaxation. In comparison to a crossword puzzle
Dove states that both the crossword puzzle and the detective novel are free of stress,
each offers the reader a task or set of related tasks, both are shaped by convention, and
neither has any goal beyond itself (Dove 3). (I split these two sub-points into two
separate paragraphs in order to make my controlling idea stronger). This shows how
both the crossword puzzle and the detective genre have similar goals/rules that are simple
to follow and easy to understand. Another important aspect, which ultimately makes the
detective genre less stressful, is investigation to which the detective allies himself
(Delamater 22). This concept of continuous investigation seen in Conan Doyles The
Hound of the Baskervilles (by Sherlock Holmes) and is also supported by Binyon who
states, it is remarkable, therefore, how seldom Holmess inferencesor deductions
prove incorrect. Indeed, they constitute his trade mark as a detective: that offhand,

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seemingly magical characterization of a visitor to Baker Street which then proves, on
explanation, to be absurdly simple (Binyon 11). This idea states how the detective genre
makes it difficult to see clues while reading the novel/short story but in the end, when the
main detective states the solution to the case those clues seen extremely obvious adding
to the stress free nature of the detective genre because the reader gets the solution to
everything. Everything happens for a reason in the detective genre novels and in the end
of each novel the detective brings all clues together and the reader gets the solution to the
whole mystery.
The detective genre has the same basic structure for a long time and has been
popular ever since its creation by Edgar Allan Poe. Conan Doyle however, has influenced
a lot of people who ultimately cannot imitate his style because of the complexity. Conan
Doyle made his detective stories relatable for all, which was something important
considering that the middle class also liked reading his detective novels. Sherlock
Holmes is considered one of the greatest detectives of all time because of the structure
and qualities that only Conan Doyle had to offer. The detective genre and all of the
qualities that Conan Doyle has brought to this genre will continue to be read my many
individual because it is still relatable in todays day in age. The structure of these novels
and how they ultimately create a fun experience will continue to prosper for many years
to come.

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Works Cited
Dove, George N. The Reader and the Detective Story. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling
Green StateUniversity Popular Press, 1997. Print.
Panek, Leroy. An Introduction to the Detective Story. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling
Green State University Popular Press, 1987. Print.
Conan Doyle, Arthur. The Hound of the Baskervilles. Seattle: Amazon Digital Services,
2013. Kindle eBook. Online.
Binyon, T.J. "Murder Will Out": The Detective in Fiction. Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1989. PDF File.
Delamater, Jerome and Ruth Prigozy, eds. Theory and Practice of Classic Detective
Fiction. New York: Praeger, 1997.