Friday, April 20, 2012

Detective stories, are they a waste of time?

As you can see in “My favourite books” section of this blog, the first book in the list is “And then there were none”, it’s a detective story and one of the best sellers of Agatha Christie. I thought first to write a review for this novel, but I decided not to do because what matters in this kind of novels is suspense, so a review wouldn’t be interesting for you, because if you decide to read the novel, it will be like watching a movie for the second time! Maybe a short summary later will be enough just to give you an idea about the book.

It’s true that many people believe that reading this kind of books isn’t really useful, and more than that, they consider it as a waste of time, but personally, I think it has many positive sides:

1. Developing our imagination

While reading a detective story, instead of waiting for the truth to be revealed at the end, the reader can take the place of the detective, start thinking like him and try to find out the guilty. It’s very funny and very useful because it makes our little grey cells work!!!

* Little grey cells: the famous sentence of Hercule Poirot, a fictional Belgian detective created by Agatha Christie.

2. Changing the mood

When we are used to reading serious books such as politics, history, NLP and Economy books, we can feel at one point that we need to relax, so why not to read something light and enjoyable? It’s better than stopping reading, because at least it will help us keep up our pace.

In my opinion, a detective story is the best choice we can make, because it’s very easy to read and doesn’t require a big effort. Even when we try to play the detective role, it remains very amusing!

3. Picking up new information

Sir Conan Doyle, the writer of the famous “Sherlock Holmes” was a Physician. Agatha Christie worked as a nurse during the First World War, and married an archaeologist. Those writers used their life experience and their knowledge in their stories, so the details they gave in their cases are real, and we can learn a lot from them.

For example, those novels can contain medical information such us poisons effects and symptoms of different illnesses, or information about archaeology, such as customs and traditions of ancient cultures or some events related to historical monuments or artefacts.

Furthermore, in some of their stories, crime writers provide an overview of the political, economical and historical environment where their characters live, this information is also inspired from reality, so I think it's very interesting to know.

4. Discovering Human nature

The writers of detective stories give a big importance to the psychology of their characters. As we know all, the human nature is very complicated, and it’s very normal to find a villain and an innocent side inside each of us, but it’s the way we deal with them that determine our actions.

In those novels, we learn not to trust appearances and not to judge people until we live with them and know them more closely.

Another little detail I’ve learned from Hercule Poirot is that people tend to talk about their problems, their thoughts and their pasts with strangers because they have no interests in common, so they won’t judge them or criticize them or use this information against them one day. This is how Hercule Poirot solves his cases; he knows how to talk to people and make them trust him.

5. Learning Languages

Most of detective stories look like pieces of theatre, since they contain especially dialogue, and this dialogue is often written in familiar language. 

So, for people who want to learn more practical English or French and acquire new expressions, it’s a good idea to read this kind of books.

In the end, I hope that I've succeded in changing your vision about detective stories, and I look forward to reading your interventions.

Have a good week end all!



  1. Just like you Amal, I love detectives stories. It develops our imagination, it enrich our vocabulary and our culture and helps us to understand human nature. However, I do not agree with you when you say: "In my opinion, a detective story is the best choice we Can Make, because it's very easy to read and Does not require a big effort." because personally I find this type of novel sometimes stressful and needs a lot of concentration. It is true that a detective storiy has a relaxing effect but I think because it overwhelms us with details and disconnects us from reality.

  2. Thanks Racha for your comment :)
    it's true that this kind of reading requires concentration, but as I said "Even when we try to play the detective role, it remains very amusing!", because the book is fictional and we read it for fun. However, reading a book containing philosophical, technical or political ideas requires more concentration because you should understand exacty what the writer is thinking, it's more serious and tiring.

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