Stephen Knight's book is a full analytic survey of crime fiction from its origins in the nineteenth century to the most recent developments. Knight explains how and why the various forms of the genre evolved, explores major authors and movements, and argues that the genre as a whole has three parts: the early development of Detection, the growing emphasis on Death, and the modern celebration of Diversity. The best criticism is cited and the book provides full references and a helpful chronology, making this a highly readable complete study of a popular and still relatively underexamined genre.