Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Don’t Lecture - Entertain Me!

The other day, an American interviewer challenged me about the purpose of fiction; should it always contain a moral message? Specifically, should crime fiction?

My instant answer: No No No! The purpose of crime fiction should be to Entertain, and nothing should come before that.

Why? We have countless other venues that preach morality. Religions seek to teach us how to behave. Every day we are bombarded by newspapers, radio and other nonfiction outlets, that expose us to the ‘evil’ of greedy politicians, nasty world despots and out of control celebrities.

If fiction – and crime fiction in particular – was required to follow a moral code, we would miss so much. If the good guy always won – if the bad guy always got caught – wouldn’t that make crime fiction lamentably predictable?

Does that mean crime fiction can’t teach us something? Of course it can! Put me in the mind of a serial killer for a few hours. Let me know what it feels like to experience the overwhelming greed of a con artist. Dress me up as a torch singer, with a black heart and a gun in her stocking.

Let me discover something about how other people think, if only for a little while. But above all else, entertain me. Don’t preach at me, even from a distance. I don’t want it from my fiction. Just tell me a damn good story, thank you. Take me out of the real world for a few hours.

That’s the purpose of crime fiction.

Melodie is the author of Rowena Through the Wall (Imajin Books) a comic time travel novel, and The Goddaughter, a madcap mob caper (Orca Books) to be released in 2012. She has over 200 publications and has won six awards for fiction.
Follow Melodie’s comic blog at


  1. I agree. Just entertain me and if it makes me chuckle, all the better. And BTW, I absolutely loved Rowena. Lots of giggles there.

  2. I have to admit that I like controversy. I like reading something that I can really get my teeth into, something meaty that challenges my senses and my perception of the world. I don't like preaching, but I love a real brainteaser. I want a story that's infused with social issues, presented in a twisted or extraordinary way. And I would dispute that Rowena is purely entertainment. I think she challenges all our views about gender and sexual discrimination and frees women's fantasies! (Can you guess that my books are somewhat controversial?) Cathy Astolfo www.catherineastolfo.com

  3. I like thought provoking fiction too... but if it isn't entertaining, I'd rather look up the facts on my own. If the message is serious, better make me laugh too. In fact, humour is the sharpest blade of all when it comes to conveying controversial ideas. If I ever tried to write a sword and sorcery book, the hero would be a jester.

    Hmmm, maybe I'll try that someday.