Once upon a time, it was rare for crime fiction to be treated with genuine intellectual rigour – and certainly any attempt (as in Josef Hoffmann’s penetrating and incisive book, Philosophies of Crime Fiction) to apply the disciplines of philosophy to the standard tropes of crime fiction would have been an exotic venture. But with academic publishers showing ever more interest in this kind of endeavour, it’s refreshing to see the enterprising publisher No Exit Press dip a toe into this territory – and with such conspicuous success. By defining a variety of parallels and congruences, Hoffmann demonstrates that crime literature can offer just the same ‘consolations’ (as he puts it) as the insights of philosophy, and demonstrates that the genre is far richer in such insights than many readers may appreciate. From classical literature and the great philosophers up to Conan Doyle, Camus, Raymond Chandler and even Get Carter’s Ted Lewis, this is a challenging, sometimes abstruse book that will offer considerable mental stimulation to the intelligent crime reader.

Philosophies of Crime Fiction by Josef Hoffmann is published by No Exit Press

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