From Sherlock Holmes to Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple to Columbo, Sarah Lund to Saga Noren, we have long been gripped by detective fiction. An opium addiction, elaborate moustaches, a knitting habit, a shabby overcoat, lovely Nordic jumpers, and a green Porsche: the only thing these idiosyncratic and frequently frustrating sleuths seem to have in common is their ability to solve crimes. Critics have likened the detective story to “a sleight-of-hand trick, in which the magician diverts your attention from the awkward or irrelevant movements that conceal the manipulation of the cards” (Edmund Wilson, 1944), “as harmless a form of self-indulgence as completing a crossword puzzle” (Christopher Booker, 2004), and akin to a game of chess or draughts (Edgar Allen Poe, 1841). So what is it that makes the whodunnit such compelling entertainment? A crime is committed, the detective arrives; we watch inthe suspense as he or she tries to piece together … [Read more...] about Detective fiction: Why do we care whodunnit?