|Public vs Private Eye.|
|What else do you call "diversity"?|
|Just a beat cop? Yeah right...|
|You know who they are just by looking at them...|
|What is up with this guy's hair?|
The villain is simply the worst person of the bunch of individuals--the one who went so far as to think that they were such a special person that they could get away with the crime. Typically they're a sociopath who can't be reconciled to society and thought for no other concern than their own. And as such the community comes together in a kind of scape goat ritual more common to tragedy to get rid of the "worst of the lot". The most ironic stories of this genre of course go out of their way to point out the society casting them out is just about as bad as the person they're casting out. The only thing that keeps it from falling into the category of tragedy is that a tragedy is about the person who falls and how brilliantly right they were and is told from the perspective of the individual. In this ironic comedy perspective on the scape goat ritual that person is being banished from the society just because of how "wrong" they are and the story is told from the perspective of the society banishing the wayward individual.
|It begs the question, which comes first, the body or the outline?|
|The only cover that|
doesn't give away
In Poe's book the story is about how a retired police detective wants to prove that he's "still got it" and while about him solving a crime, the larger focus of the story is about how age isn't a limiting factor. That's another part of the irony of the genre, in it the elderly and the people with the most experience are usually the best detectives. There's something about age that provides experience, which a lot of these elderly or older detectives provide. On the top of my head I can think of very few popular "young" detectives--they're usually the exception in this genre--and more often they're found in the juvenile version of this genre aimed at kids (Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Boxcar Children, etc.) or are attempts at being ironic. More often
Mind like a steel trap.
That's Ironic Comedy, aka Mysteries, Detective Stories, Crime Novels, Murder Mystery plays, Forensics-based TV Shows, and Thrillers in a nutshell. It's a modern genre for a modern world, reflecting and valuing experience, age, over the naivety of youth. A world full of a lot of various clashing cultures and individuals, that all share exactly one common value: crime is bad, but who otherwise don't get along very well. And if that doesn't describe "today" then I don't know what does.