Criminal Element: Addicted to Addicted Detectives

Once more, I’m consorting with the Criminal Element. This installment is a think piece about why so many literary detectives are addicts.

Crime fiction is cheerfully described as an addiction by many of its fans, including such diverse personalities as Sigmund Freud and Woodrow Wilson. Just as neurochemical addicts have an endless menu of obsessions to gorge on (alcohol, tobacco, narcotics, gambling, chocolate, sex…), crimefic addicts have an ever-growing and -mutating variety of subgenres to sample. But one sub-subgenre has been with us since the beginning: the literary detective hooked on his or her own addiction, fighting crime as well as the DTs or withdrawal.

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