Books and Crooks - A History of Crime Fiction

Ref: C2341031

Crime fiction is enormously popular these days as a trip to any library or bookshop will demonstrate. The form dates from the Victorian era which produced one of its most famous authors and detectives in the shapes of Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. We will examine why Holmes remains so popular, some of the great 'golden age' authors (including Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers), some foreign authors and crime on the television. The course will aim to deepen your enjoyment of the genre by examining its unique qualities and the way it has evolved.

Course aim

Mystery fiction ('Who dun its') is as popular now as ever it was. The course will aim to deepen your enjoyment and understanding of the genre by exploring its history, qualities and practitioners.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Be able to provide an account of the history of crime fiction.
  • Talk about its unique qualities.
  • Be able to discuss some of the genre's main practitioners.
  • Ruminate on why the form is so popular.
  • Be able to talk about various kinds of crime fiction

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • You will be sent a list of novels which will form the basis of discussion during the course. It would be more than helpful if you could read theses!

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • A list of novels to read will be posted.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

Books and Crooks - A History of Crime Fiction


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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