Whether or not Capote invented something called the “nonfiction novel,” he ushered in the serious, extensive, non-fiction treatment of murder. In the years since In Cold Blood appeared, the genre of true crime regularly appears on the bestseller list. It is related to crime fiction, certainly – but it might equally well be grouped with documentary or read alongside romance fiction. And while its readers have a deep engagement with the genre that is very different from the engagement of readers of crime fiction, its writers are often forced to occupy a position – in relation to victims, criminals and police – that is complex and contradictory.2 In this essay I will be tracing the history and development of this hybrid genre, as well as examining some of the tensions – between reader, writer, criminal and cops – that are at its heart.
Copyright © 2010 Cambridge University Press. This book chapter first appeared in The Cambridge Companion to American Crime Fiction.
Edited by: Catherine Nickerson
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Browder, Laura. "True Crime." In The Cambridge Companion to American Crime Fiction, edited by Catherine Nickerson, 205-28. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.