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Crime and Romance – any connections?

I went to an RNA London South East meeting yesterday with fellow newbie Rachel to hear Alison Joseph, author of the ‘Sister Agnes’ series, compare story structure in the two genres.

She observed that while crime and romance in the same story may be rare, there were similarities in the framework and essential elements. Both needed conflict and tension, for instance. Alison pointed to a high point in tension in her crime books at around seven-eights of the way through. The last eighth was a wrap-up along the lines of  ‘So, Inspector, what about the fate of xxx?’

Alison said she enjoyed writing about extraordinary things happening to ordinary people (often the setting for romantic novels) and the relationships that  developed between her characters (an obvious one in romance!). She got a lot of empathic smiles around the table about the necessity of avoiding the mid-book sag.

After a Q&A session from the twenty-odd members, there was a book raffle. For my 50p, I won Elizabeth Chadwick’s The Greatest Knight, the story of William Marshal, which I shall look forward to reading with great pleasure.

An afterthought: I was a little puzzled about the crime/romance mix comment, as were one or two others in  my twitter group. David Hewson’s The Lizard’s Bite is an example  of a successful mix,  I think as are Lindsey Davis’s Falco series.  Have just started JD Robb’s (Nora Roberts) Naked in Death which adds a futuristic element to the mix. I’ll report back…

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