Police literature, which has a long history and continues to be favoured by literature lovers, is a kind that presents a problem to the reader in essence and gives the solution of the problem with the result of a researcher. Different authors of crime literature, in other words, the detective novel defined in the following sentences:
“Detective novel is the modern form of prose, which is formally perfect.” (Joseph Wood Krutch)
“The detective novel is the story of the elimination of all suspects except the real killer and the capture of the murderer after a murder.” (W.H. Auden)
“A detective novel is a work that ultimately reveals the crime.” (Howard Haycraft)
Detective novel emerged as the opposite of literature and realistic fiction. In detective works, the content, size and shape of the cover are predetermined; events are given in a similar and consistent sequence.
Detective novel also emerged as the opposite of the traditional novel. Contrary to the narration of the chain of events that develops throughout the traditional novel; In the thriller, the usual dramatic events such as murder are told from beginning to end. This narrative technique is the main element of the detective novel and was first used in the novel Caleb Williams, written by Godwin in 1794.
The narrator of the novel is Caleb Williams, a poor teenager and works as a secretary for a man named Falkland. Falkland was previously accused of stabbing his neighbour but was cleared after being tried. The novel is shaped by Williams’ inexhaustible curiosity, revealing the mysterious crime of Falkland, and the events unfolding in the process. The novel, which can be summarized in this way, has a fiction in which a previously murder is investigated with various clues, and finally, a real criminal is found. This fiction is an essential element of the detective novel.
The second main element of the detective novel is prophecy, that is deductive. The roots of this element appear in many old stories. Such stories can be found in the Jewish Talmud in different cultures such as Korea, Serbia, Ukraine, Croatian, Indian.
With these two main elements of the detective novel mentioned above, the spirit of “detective literature” emerges. The detective novel also followed the development in contrast to the modern novel in terms of structure. Contemporary novel rejects individual personalities and psychological details; detective novel is a genre in which ambiguity is often found with signs used to confuse the reader. The general characteristics of the detective novel can be summarized with the following items:
The first work written in crime fiction in world literature is accepted as the Morgue Street Murder published in 1841 by Edgar Allan Poe. Of course, the best known and popular name of detective literature; in other words, Agatha Christie, the queen of the crime.
The introduction of the detective novel into Turkish literature was towards the end of the 19th century. The French writer Ponson de Terrail’s detective novel, Paris Disasters, is the first detective translated into Turkish. The first copyrighted novel is Ahmet Mithat Efendi’s Esrar-ı Cinayat.
In the early years of the Republic, Peyami Safa began to write a copy of the Arsène Lupin character created by Maurice Leblanc under the pseudonym Server Bedi with the Cingöz Recai typing. The adventures of Cingöz Recai were published collectively after the author’s death in 1962. Cingöz Recai is not only the first detective novel in our literature but also the first Turkish detective novel. In the following period, famous writers such as Necip Fazıl Kısakürek, Nazım Hikmet and Halide Edip Adıvar also had their detective works, and many journalists wrote detective works.
The writers of the Republican period also produced very successful and famous works of crime. The most well-known of these is undoubtedly the novel of the renowned theatre writer Cevat Fehmi Başkut named Valide Sultanın Gerdanlığı. Kemal Tahir, who wrote the local versions of Mike Hammer novels which are very popular in the world at that time, Pınar Kür, who draws attention with his original examples, Osman Aysu who wrote the most detective novels and Ahmet Ümit, who of course is one of the best detective of today, are other names that come forward with his contributions to the type of detective in our literature.