By Jerome de Groot
“The historical novel can make the reader understand the bodily and create a kind of corporeal sympathy with the past. It can render something ‘richer, more complete’ in a way that mainstream historical accounts cannot.
One way that historical novels do this is by concentrating on bodies themselves and how they are turned back into skeletons without flesh. Historical detective and thriller fiction allows the author to reveal the workings of society and to highlight various differences between the then and now. It gives an impetus to the understanding of historical difference and allows a character to legitimately investigate the way that a society works. Ways of understanding, defining and punishing criminal mentality, action, and psychology are evidently historically contingent and criminological definitions and practices are hence fundamentally important in understanding pastness …”