As a subgenre of formula fiction, detective fiction is often not considered serious or legitimate literature. Despite this, detective fiction continues to appear at the top of international bestselling lists. This thesis attempts to answer the question: Why is detective fiction so popular? In order to answer this question, this thesis explores the characteristics of both formula fiction and detective fiction in order to gain a better understanding of the genres, as well as the conclusions of numerous critics regarding what makes a good detective narrative. The ultimate conclusion is that the character of the detective determines whether a detective narrative is both popular and memorable. To prove this, I applied everything I have learned about this genre and character development to writing my own detective story, “A Novel Robbery.” In this thesis I analyze numerous passages from my short story in order to explain the techniques I utilized to develop my detective character and establish a connection between her and the reader. Finally, this thesis advocates and provides reasons for the legitimacy of detective fiction as a serious literary genre.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 2019


Mason Smith

Mentor Professional Affiliation

English and Theatre

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level




Department Name when Degree Awarded

English and Theatre