Crime. It repels and thrills us. We shiver when we see the latest bloody event on the nightly television news, and then settle down with a cosy novel of murder in a country village. Who's the victim this time?
It's an ancient genre of story - as Cain and Abel will tell you - but every so often, someone comes up with a fresh approach that turns it all on its head. The Turnglass author Gareth Rubin looks at the books that flipped the script.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (1926)
You think you know Christie: The victims (spinsters in country villages, overbearing patriarchs in London townhouses, unlucky maidservants); the sleuth (in this case, the funny little Belgian), the format. But this time, your knowledge of the canon is your undoing. Because you're seeing it all from a perspective you never encountered before. One that breaks the rules....
The Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992)
Whodunnits are ten-a-penny, but now, in this gripping thriller, you have a Whydunnit. You discover at the very start who killed whom. But why on earth would the appealing, unassuming narrator of the tale get mixed up in such a plan?
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1866)
Who said crime thrillers can't also be the highest form of literature? Until Raskalnikov came along, heroes were heroes. But our nihilistic protagonist brutally does in the old money-lender and only then wrestles with the consequences he had not stopped to consider.
Murders In The Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe (1841)
Not just the first true modern detective novel (an unexplained crime, physical clues, a police detective), and one that heavily influenced Conan Doyle, but also the first to depict an assailant that might not even be human.
Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal by Roy Horniman (1907)
Ignored in its time and known now only as the basis for the classic black comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets, Israel Rank is perhaps the British answer to Crime and Punishment. It is a darker work than the film version and we cheer on the titular character as he wreaks severe revenge on his mother's aristocratic English family who threw her out for falling in love with a penniless Jewish musician.