Crime fiction is the literary genre that fictionalises crimes, their detection, criminals, and their motives.It is usually distinguished from mainstream fiction and other genres such as historical fiction or science fiction, but the boundaries are indistinct.Crime fiction has multiple subgenres, including detective fiction (such as the whodunit), courtroom drama, hard-boiled fiction and legal thrillers.Most crime drama focus on crime investigation and does not feature the court room.
With his Dupin stories, Poe provided the framework for the classic detective story.
The detective’s unnamed companion is the narrator of the stories and a prototype for the character of Dr. Wilkie Collins' epistolary novel The Woman in White was published in 1860, while The Moonstone (1868) is often thought to be his masterpiece.
French author Émile Gaboriau's Monsieur Lecoq (1868) laid the groundwork for the methodical, scientifically minded detective.
The evolution of locked room mysteries was one of the landmarks in the history of crime fiction.
The Sherlock Holmes mysteries of Arthur Conan Doyle are said to have been singularly responsible for the huge popularity in this genre.
A precursor was Paul Féval, whose series Les Habits Noirs (1862–67) features Scotland Yard detectives and criminal conspiracies.