“O” is for Omens–A to Z Blogging Challenge 2022

My topic for this year’s A to Z Blogging Challenge is

Elements of Crime Fiction

I am a great fan of detective novels. Cosy mysteries,  police procedurals, psychological thrillers– you name it. For the month of April I am going to try and break up crime fiction into its components and see what makes it tick.

My topic for today is :

Omens, superstitions & the supernatural

I haven’t really encountered many omens in crime fiction unless you count the premonitions that some characters always say they had whe a murder is discovered. Okay, I cheated — I couldn’t think of anything beginning with :O”.

Superstitions, however, are quite often quoted in detective stories:

A murderer always returns to the scene of his crime .

This may sound like a murderer feels some kind of magnetic pull that draws him to the crime scene. What is more natural is that a truly careful killer may re-visit the murder scene to determine if he has left any loose ends/evidence that may connect him to the crime.

A variation on this theme is that the killer makes friends with the detective. He may pretend to help with the investigation while cleverly staying abreast of the findings. This also allows him to deflect suspicion away from himself.

“A corpse bleeds when touched by its killer”

This suspicion was so firmly rooted in the psyche of some people that murder suspects were forced to touch the corpse to see if it would bleed and therefore confirm their guilt.

A touch of the supernatural adds suspense and interest to a detective story. The supernatural phenomenon is shown to have a logical explanation once the crime is solved.

In Wilkie Collins’ “The Woman in White ” a ghostly spectre haunts the landscape and frightens the locals. It turns out to be a real woman “haunted” by real problems and forced to roam the countryside looking for help.

In Arthur Conan Doyle”s “The Hound of the Baskervilles” a glowing hound haunts the cliffs. Sherlock Holmes unravels the secret and says

“The devil’s agents may be of flesh and blood, may they not?”

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