Today I’m super excited to be featuring a guest post from author Graham Smith, and a very intriguing guest post it is to. Graham is the author of Snatched From Home and The Major Crimes Team – Vol 1: Lines of Enquiry. Matching The Evidence is Graham Smith’s latest book and it’s published on the 8th September 2016. Graham has been on my “books to read radar” for a while now, after reading some glowing reviews from fellow bloggers. Consequently Snatched From Home is sitting very patiently on my kindle (I promise I will get to it soon Graham, if you are reading this!). Reading the book description for Matching The Evidence this is certainly another one I will be adding to my TBR pile. My thanks to Noelle over at http://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk for asking me to be part of this blog tour and Graham Smith for the fascinating guest post.
Does Humour Belong in Crime Fiction?
Any fan of crime fiction will have encountered an author or two who leavens the darker moments with a spot of humour. It may be a wry aside during an internal monologue, a wisecrack from the office joker or just a chain of events which shouldn’t be funny but just is.
The question I’m asking myself is whether such uses of humour have a place in the world of crime fiction which is traditionally littered with dead bodies, morose detectives and threats of a varying nature.
There are cases for and against the use of humour, so in true courtroom style I’m going to allow the Right Honourable Straighty McStraighface to present the case for the prosecution.
- There is no room for humour when dealing with serious crimes. The victims and their families don’t find their plight funny and neither should any character
- Cracking jokes at times of distress is not clever
- Readers of crime fiction do not want jokes. If they did they’d read a joke book
- Some authors just aren’t funny
And for the defence we have Mike from the shop opposite where the Komedy Klub used to be. He knows nothing about law but he says he reads a lot and that’s good enough for me.
- Any author worth his salt isn’t going to use humour to upset the characters unless he’s creating drama. Anything other than that is crass.
- It’s a well-known fact that many of those who work in the emergency services have a very dark sense of humour. With the horrors they face on a daily basis it’s little wonder they don’t try to lighten their day with a spot of joking. A reader being fed a joke by the author is the author’s way of leavening the worst situations.
- Readers of crime fiction are human beings who like all manner of things and the fact that many books are labelled as a crime caper proves this point
- Some authors are funny to the point of me wiping away tears of laughter
A wise-cracking hero or sidekick is a staple of crime fiction and if you take the staples out then the book may fall apart
- The best detective movie I ever watched was The Pink Panther with Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau
I’ll stop Mike there before his blood pressure rises too high. Last time that happened we had to call three ambulances, a taxi and his mum in Sao Paulo.
As you can probably guess from the less than serious nature of this post I’m firmly in the belong camp as far as humour is concerned. While I love a spot of humour in my stories it has to be done right. It should not be mocking of any group, the butt of the joke should be the situation and most of all, it should be funny.
Humour in crime fiction doesn’t have to have me dropping the book with laughter, a wry smile is enough. One of the best lines I’ve ever read was by Robert Crais. He was describing one character through another’s eyes with the marvellous line, “I’m not saying he’s taciturn, but he thinks Clint Eastwood is a blabbermouth.”
Peter James, Mark Billingham, Stuart MacBride, Chris Ewan, Christopher Brookmyre, Harlan Coben and many other authors have made me laugh out loud with a well-crafted line that fits perfectly into their narrative. Do I think less of them because they are crime authors who’ve made me laugh? Hell no!
I believe humour does belong in crime novels but be warned, when it comes to humour, I am serious, and don’t call me …
About the author
Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.
An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009
He is the author of four books featuring DI harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team.
Links to Graham Smith
Carlisle United are playing Millwall and the Major Crimes Team are assigned to crowd control as punishment for their renegade ways. Typically, DI Harry Evans has other ideas and tries to thwart the local firm’s plans to teach Millwall’s notorious Bushwhackers an unforgettable lesson.
Meanwhile an undercover cop is travelling north with some of the Millwall contingent. His mission is to identify the ringleaders and gather evidence against them.
Three illegal immigrants have been transported to Carlisle and are about to meet their new employers.
Nothing is as it seems for Evans and his Major Crimes Team as they battle to avoid a bloodbath while also uncovering a far more heinous crime.
Print Length: 107 pages
Publisher: Caffeine Nights Publishing (8 Sept. 2016)