Some years ago I wrote an article that was published by GUMSHOE REVIEW. It was entitled “Social Conscience in Modern Mystery Fiction” and remains in the archives. At the time I observed: “Many of today's mystery and crime fiction authors display significant elements of social conscience and/or awareness in their writing.”
I would now like to amend and expand my statement to observe that earlier mystery writers, particularly those who wrote noir, also demonstrated social conscience. To demonstrate this point, I recently read a review of a newly discovered Raymond Chandler story written not long before his death. The story, “It’s All Right: He Only Died,” appears in THE STRAND MAGAZINE’s holiday edition. In true
style, the story is in the
hard-boiled tradition. It condemns a doctor at a hospital who doesn’t want to
care for a patient he believes to be indigent. Chandler
Writing stories that make a significant point is a worthy effort. Mystery writers often act as a moral conscience to society—as do writers in general.
My last work, THE BURNING, is not a mystery, more of a thriller, but it is meaningful. It’s about a family surviving an environmental disaster. It deals with matters that need to concern everyone living on our planet.
Have you read or written any stories or novels that you consider socially relevant? Your thoughts and comments welcome.