Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Detective Story Vocabulary

A Detective Story
A story in which a detective, either a policeman or private citizen solves a puzzling crime. Detective stories can be novels or short stories.

The Victim (Obeť)
An unfortunate person who suffers from a crime or disaster.

A Witness (Svedok)
Someone who sees a crime or has information about it.

A Suspect (Podozrivý človek)
Anyone who might have committed a crime. A good detective story will have several false suspects who are innocent, and sometimes a “least likely suspect” with no apparent motives.

A reason for committing a crime.

An Inside Job
A crime committed by or with the help of someone employed and/or trusted by the victim.

Red Herrings
A red herring is an idiom for a clue which is intentionally or unintentionally misleading or distracting from the actual crime. [The idiom probably originates from an article published 1807 by journalist William Cobbett in the Political Register. In a critique of the English press, which had mistakenly reported Napoleon's defeat, Cobbett recounted that he had once used a red herring to deflect hounds in pursuit of a hare.]

A Private Investigator, Private Eye
Someone independent from the state who assists either the police or a victim’s family in solving a crime. They’re celebrated for their logic and intellect.

A Criminal Mastermind
The villain present in some detective stories, a criminal genius who commits many crimes, yet is not suspected by the police. He/she is usually wealthy and respected. Prof. Moriarty is a famous example. In comics, the Joker is another famous criminal mastermind.

A Bungling Local Constabulary
This is an incompetent policeman who needs the help of a private eye.

Detective Inquiries
An inquiry is a conversation in which the private eye asks a series of questions to witnesses and suspects in order to determine who is guilty.

A Reconstruction of the Crime
In an effort to find who is guilty of a crime, the detective often recreates the scene, asking witnesses and suspects to reenact what they did exactly as they remember it. It helps to find clues, and to see who is lying.

A Plot Twist (Zápletka)
A surprising revelation. Some "twists" are foreshadowed and can be predicted, whereas others are a complete shock.

A "Locked Room" Mystery
This is a detective story in which a crime—almost always murder—is committed under apparently impossible circumstances. It typically involves a crime scene that no intruder could have entered or left, for example, a locked room. The reader is normally presented with the puzzle and all of the clues, and is encouraged to solve the mystery before the solution is revealed in a dramatic climax. This format is commonly referred to as “whodunit”, meaning “who did it?”

An Inverted Detective Story
An inverted detective story is the opposite of a “whodunit”. The identity of the criminal is described at the beginning. The remainder of the story then describes the subsequent investigation. The puzzle presented to the reader is discovering the clues and evidence that the perpetrator left behind, in order to understand why they did it. A famous example is In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

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